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What are Personal Health Records?

What is PHR?

In the past, a new doctor's process to become acquainted with your medical history tedious. Today, Personal Health Records are poised to change this. With medical professionals moving toward electronic systems for managing their patient's records, the next logical step is to give patients the ability to accumulate, access, and transfer this information as well. PHRs have already been utilized by patients collecting information for their own health and by guardians collecting information on the health records of those they care for (i.e. children, parents, etc).

To learn MORE about PHR's visit this wonderful resource offered by our partners at the AHIMA Foundation.

With medical professionals moving toward electronic systems for managing their patient's records, the next logical step is to give patients the ability to accumulate, access, and transfer this information as well. PHRs have already been utilized by patients collecting information for their own health and by guardians collecting information on the health records of those they care for (i.e. children, parents, etc).

Why use a PHR?

  • Using a PHR can save patients time and money
  • When one goes to a new doctor or a specialist, more often than not they must provide their medical history and get their patient history sent to the medical professional. PHR allows you to maintain your own health records and will decrease the time associated with providing a new medical professional with up to date information on your condition or medical history. Often due to the lack of communication between medical professionals, patients will have to repeat routine tests or procedures, these unnecessary tests or procedures could be avoided through the use of PHR.

  • A PHR can help patients attain better care
  • PHR can provide a healthcare professional with a centralized view of a patient's entire medical history; allowing that provider to suggest more effective courses of action. In addition, in the case of emergencies, PHR's can be used to quickly provide a medical or urgent care professional with history that may be essential to proper diagnosis or treatment.

What is Included in a PHR?

The information that is contained in a PHR will vary depending on the needs of the patient using the PHR. This is one of the benefits of a PHR, it is personal, and therefore does not attempt a one size fits all approach. Instead, a PHR will include only information that is relevant to the patient.

Most PHR user will include information such as:

  • Contact Information: Name, address, telephone number, insurance and policy number.
  • List of Conditions: Past surgical procedures, any chronic conditions, reoccuring issues etc.
  • Immunization Record: Immunization documentation of measles, mumps, flu etc.
  • Prescription Record: past and current prescriptions
  • Social and Family History: Health habits significant family instances of disease and illness

Depending on the medical history of the PHR user, many will also include information such as:

  • Progress Notes: a physicians observations and plan for treatment
  • Imaging Reports: a description of what was found in an x-ray, ultrasound, etc.
  • Imaging Reports: a description of what was found in an x-ray, ultrasound, etc.
  • Lab Reports: a description of throat cultures, complete blood count, cholesterol level, etc.
  • Hospital Discharge Instructions and Reports: admission to hospital purpose, procedures performed, response to treatment, follow-up care, etc.

What types of PHR are available?

The traditional type of PHR required users to keep paper copies of their health records. This version had many drawbacks. Paper PHR required significant effort to keep the records current and unless the patient carried his or her files everywhere, they would not be available in the case of emergency. Moreover, these files were consistently difficult to access. Fortunately, the move to electronic record keeping has reinvented the varieties of PHR available to patients in the market.

  • Local Computer PHRs: This type of PHR allows users to scan or manually input their health records on to their computers. Local computer PHRs allow for easy access to your medical records and enable patients to keep their health records current with relative ease. This information can also be copied to a flash drive or cd for access on the go.

  • Third-Party Internet-Based PHRs: This type of PHR allows users to store their health records on the Internet. Users are provided with a unique user name and password; Once a patient is logged on they can access, edit, and update their health records at their convenience. When visiting a new medical professional, patients can provide the medical professional with on-line access to their PHR. This format also permits download to a secure USB key or printed portable format.

Many PHR providers are beginning to offer PHR solutions that allow for both local computer access as well as third-party internet-based access.

How do I select a new PHR?

The 4Medapproved.com PHR directory can help you select a PHR to best fit your needs. By choosing whether you wish to utilize a web-enabled, paper or mobile APP, you can narrow your choices, read descriptions and try a few. If you want more specific assistance you may call our toll-free helpline at (800) 671-1028. A medical record specialist can guide you to the best selection for you.

We also provide a service which can assist you in setting up the record, importing and uploading pharmacy information, ordering fax or mail medical records, entering pertinent data and more. Click here to learn more about our fixed fee setup service.

PHR flash driveTo carry your PHR with you, you may want to consider a secure USB key. Many of these exist on the market and can be purchased online. Confirm that your USB key (flash drive) has a password protection embedded in the drive or better yet, call our PHR help line and we will send you one for FREE along with our low-cost PHR setup service.

Review the detail in the specifications above to find models which will best fit your needs, or call our easy toll free help line @ (800) 671-1028 for assistance in choosing models with your specific needs in mind. To see a list of consumer products on our storesite, click here. All products are recommended and selected on our site by certified EMR/PHR and technology specialists for BEST overall home and home healthcare use.

Last updated: November 15, 2012