Personal Health Records Software For Consumers
What are Personal Health Records?
Personal health records and patient portals are useful tools for managing health.
A personal health record is the collection of every kind of information about a patient’s health. 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, that 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 it easier to share and reach your information anytime, on enabled devices, may them be computers or smartphones.
Information collected on PHR
A PHR includes anything concerning your health, and anything that doctors or specialists need to know about your health condition, such as:
- Information about the doctors that are following you
- Allergies, to food and/or medicals
- Medications you’re using or have used in the past
- Timeline of medical issues and surgeries
- Chronic problems
Patients can also connect data stored in apps on their smartphones.
For what concerns privacy, PHRs platforms follow federal laws and regulations and online best practices, such as respecting their privacy policies and they are often monitored by third-party organizations.
The advantages of Personal Health Records
PHRs are the first tool you can use in case of 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
- 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 health record that is complete. 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 having seen a doctor or having taken a test. Also, patients always have to review their information before they are added to the record.
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 they are managed by health care providers to store meaningful information.
A patient portal is when Personal Health Records are connected to Electronic Health Record, 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 are running one and start using it!
You’ll be offered reminders, appointments minutes, test results and medication list 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 that regards patients and their health treatments: from the logistics to prescriptions and payments. Some kind of EMR softwares 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 health care?
EHR (Electronic Health Record) is not to be confused with EMR (Electronic Medical Record) software.
EHR is a broader definition of EMR, as those softwares help dealing with all aspects of patient administration, whereas 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 softwares 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 softwares 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 a 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.