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Personal Health Record (PHR)

A Personal Health Record (PHR) is controlled by the individual, and can be shared with others, including caregivers, family members and providers. This is different from a provider's electronic health record, which is controlled by the provider just as paper medical records are today. Ideally, a Personal Health Record will have a fairly complete summary of an individual's health and medical history based on data from many sources, including information entered by the individual. You should make sure you enter special information that is important to you, such as:

  • Names and phone numbers of people who should be contacted in case of emergency
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of your doctors, including specialists and dentists
  • Health insurance information, like the name of your insurance company and key phone numbers for service
  • Current medications and dosages
  • Allergies (to foods, drugs and other substances)
  • Important events, dates, and hereditary conditions in your family history
  • A list and dates of significant illnesses and surgical procedures
  • Results from recent doctor visits
  • Important tests results; eye and dental records, immunization records (if the PHR is provided by your doctor or hospital, or if you can enter the information yourself)
  • Any information you want to include about your health - such as your exercise regimen, any over-the-counter or herbal medications you take and any counseling you may receive.

PHRs can also work with your doctor's Electronic Health Record (EHR). By connecting the two systems you can receive real-time information from your doctor, like lab results and prescription information, and can also feedback information from your PHR, like over-the-counter medication you are taking and other medical facts you have collected, to your doctor.

So, to clarify, a PHR is information that you, the patient, have gathered from different providers and hospitals and keep in your own account, which may be on an internet site or on your own computer. A patient portal is a view of information about you (i.e. your healthcare) in your doctors' or hospitals' electronic system.