What are Personal Health Records?
Personal health records and patient portals are useful tools for managing health.
A personal or family health record is the collection of every kind of information about a patient’s health, written from a patient’s perspective.
You are probably already using PHR if you’re keeping track of your medical records inside a folder, and you may know the big load of paper they bring upon, which makes it difficult to have at hand what you need when you need it.
This is why electronic personal health records (PHRs) are handy, making online access to your information anytime on computers or smartphones. Personal health records can have different forms, but they are essentially a list of your medical conditions, medications, and treatments with additional information, such as allergies or family history.
The idea of a personal health record is to have all your health information in one place for quick access whenever you need it. However, this is not possible if the data is not organized properly or the PHR is not properly used.
For using the PHR successfully, it’s important that you actively update any change in your health and medical situation and share them with your doctor or healthcare providers.
Unlike electronic medical records (EMRs), personal health records can be used without the need for care providers’ involvement or even knowledge of existence. This is because they are not considered part of regular medical records.
What can I do with my Personal Health Record?
In the PHR, you can keep track of what kind of medications you are taking, when and how much, and which ones cause adverse effects. You can also keep track of your results in physical examinations and any other tests or diagnoses. You will also be able to keep track if any prescribed medication is outdated or if over-prescribed. However, you can’t see your doctor’s diagnostic report without first knowing the patient’s medical history.
Why I should create a Personal Health Record?
- To store and manage personal health information
- To give information to authorized care providers
- To get the most out of your health benefits
The Advantages of Personal Health Records
PHRs are the first tool you can use in an emergency, as it contains information that can be given to first aid providers.
Also, when seeing different specialists, patients can collect data stored in different EHR systems inside their PHR to have data gathered in one place.
With PHR patients can also:
- Keep track of health progress and track health conditions (such as high blood pressure)
- Add data produced at home when monitoring different parameters to have an extensive use case to show to the next visit
- Organize, keep track of appointments and reminders to generate a prevention program for each patient’s needs.
Disadvantages of PHRs
There are no actual disadvantages of PHRs; the only small inconvenience is the time it takes to build a complete health record. Patients will have to enter all their information beforehand and sometimes add records that come from different EHRs.
Patients may be required to update their PHR manually after seeing a doctor or taking a test.
PHRs, EHRs or Patient Portals
Personal Health Records (PHRs) are not quite the same as Electronic Health Records (EHRs), or Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), owned by health institutions such as doctors, hospitals, or insurances.
EHRs contain the same basic information as PHR, such as patient’s basic information, medications, and allergies. EHRs are designed to contain more complete information as health care providers manage them to store meaningful information.
A patient portal is when Personal Health Records are connected to Electronic Health Records. Usually, patients can add information to the records via the portal, such as basic information that may come at handy in case of emergency.
You can start a PHR by asking your doctor if they recommend one and start using it!
You’ll be offered reminders, appointments minutes, test results, and medication lists and dosages.
What are EMR – Electronic medical records?
EMR, Electronic medical records software, is a software that automates documentation, storage, and retrieval of medical records of patients.
EMR software manages everything regarding patients and their health treatments: from the logistics to prescriptions and payments. Some kinds of EMR software include a platform that permits direct communication between health professionals and patients, providing users with the possibility to book appointments, open and view test results, compiling forms and surveys online.
Are EHR and EMR Improving Healthcare?
EHR (Electronic Health Record) is not to be confused with EMR (Electronic Medical Record) software.
EHR is a broader definition of EMR, as those software help dealing with all aspects of patient administration. In contrast, EMR aims at covering aspects more related to patient records in a less managerial way.
The line between the two isn’t so definite, though, as some EHR software have EMR capabilities, and vice versa. A line that will eventually be crossed as patients demand more integrated services to be available online.
Advantages of Electronic Medical Records
Electronic software in the field of medication helps the exchange of information electronically, providing a high-quality and safe service for patients while enhancing Companies’ efficiency.
- Accurate and up-to-date patient information
- Efficiency in care and management of patients
- Fast access to information and medical records for patients
- Safe sharing of information between patients and professionals
- Improvement of the quality of communication between patients and doctors
- Safe prescriptions
- Electronic compiled documentation, available whenever needed and legible
- Enhanced privacy for patients
- Less paper and less costs
Overall, those software are enabling a different culture in the relation of patients and hospitals and medical professionals in general, transforming health care step by step: improvement of safety, efficiency, effectiveness, equity, patient-centeredness.
Efficiency includes lower costs related to health care achieved with better coordination and integration of services and tests, leading to an improved clinical decision making with the integration of patient data and information coming from all different sources.