What Is a Personal Health Record (Phr)?

A new study suggests that a change in the way we keep health records could save billions. The study found that providing interoperable PHRs to 80% of the US population would cost $3.7 billion in startup costs and $1.9 billion in annual maintenance costs. According to the report from the Center for Information Technology Leadership at Partners Healthcare System in Boston, widespread use of PHRs could save the US healthcare industry between $13 and $21 billion a year. (www.myPHR.com) This past year, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She has come to realize that this diagnosis also comes with a lot of medical documentation that sometimes has not been forwarded to her oncologist or family physician. After having read about the PHR, it came to my mind just how important and convenient having a Personal Health Record could be. I decided to search the Internet to see just what developing a PHR would take and how difficult it would be. After searching the AHIMA website, I was forwarded to a unique site at www.myPHR.com and on this site I found very helpful information regarding the steps one person should take to develop their own PHR and the benefits it would serve.

The definition of a PHR according to AHIMA, is The personal health record (PHR) is an electronic, universally available, lifelong resource of health information needed by individuals to make health decisions. Individuals own and manage the information in the PHR, which comes from healthcare providers and the individual. The PHR is maintained in a secure and private environment, with the individual determining rights of access. The PHR is separate from and does not replace the legal record of any provider. (www.perspectives.ahima.org)

There are many options when it comes to creating your own PHR. A person may create it on their own; they may be offered one by their Physician’s office or even by their insurance provider. One should study each of the vendor’s policies before choosing because they may be different. Each vendor or supplier should have policies in place for how they control access to a person’s PHR and who they will authorize to access the information. Important points to remember about your PHR, according to www.myPHR.com are as follows: * You should always have access to your PHR

* The information in your PHR should be accurate and complete * You control how much information is accessed * The PHR maybe separate and does not replace the Physician’s legal medical record

Information that is normally included in a PHR is Patient demographic sheet, problem list, MAR, history & physical, progress notes, consultations, physician orders, radiology reports, laboratory reports, immunization records, operative reports, pathology reports, discharge summaries, emergency room records and consent forms.

Once I gathered all my mother’s medical records in one place, I scanned all her documents into her computer so that she had them all saved. I then transferred the information on a USB drive so that she could easily access the documents anytime she needed. We are now trying to decide whether to keep the information on her computer locally or to subscribe to one of the services that is mentioned on the myPHR website.

If my mother did not have a computer available to her, it would also be beneficial for her to keep the information from her medical records that we had gathered in a folder in a safe place. Now my mother has her PHR at her fingertips and we can both focus our energy on her road to recovery rather than spending time tracking down medical records. The time I spent researching on www.myPHR.com was very valuable and made me very aware of how important having all your information in one, easily accessible place can be. I would recommend that everyone look into creating their own Personal Health Record.

Works Cited

Why should you keep a personal health record? (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.myphr.com/StartaPHR/why_keep_a_phr.aspx

Definition of PHR (n.d.). Retrieved from http://perspectives.ahima.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=196&Itemid=56