A Personal Health Record Can Benefit Everyone


Filed under Health & Wellness

A personal health record  is more than just a compilation of your medical records. While medical records are created and maintained by doctors, hospitals or other healthcare providers, a PHR is created and maintained by you. It is an ongoing, personalized compilation of important personal and health related information about you or someone you’re caring for.

“Many people think that if they’re healthy they don’t need a personal health record,” says Denise Pozen, attorney and creator of So Tell Me… personal health organizers. “But a PHR can be beneficial to almost everyone, regardless of their health. Personal health records should contain four types of information: Personal — such as name, address, contact information; medical — doctor visits, ER visits, diagnostic tests and surgeries; medicinal — your prescriptions and supplements; and observational — such as notes from doctor visits, diet or exercise records, reactions to medications, research notes, etc. While medical and medicinal information comes from doctors and pharmacists, personal and observational information has to come from you.”

People in the following situations can benefit from keeping a personal health record:

• ICE 1: In case of emergency — The stress of an emergency can make it hard to remember critical information. A PHR will give you the information you need when you need it.

• ICE 2: In case of evacuation — If hurricane, flood or fire forces you to temporarily relocate, you may not be able to visit your regular doctor. A PHR will provide background information that might otherwise not be available.

• As a backup to your doctors’ records — Records can be destroyed by floods, fires, earthquakes, or broken water pipes. Old records can also be destroyed as part of normal file retention policy. A PHR ensures that your historical information will be available.

• If you are a caregiver — You want to focus your attention and energy on the person you care for, rather than trying to remember details of their health history. A PHR will provide the tool to do that.

* If you are a parent — You can track growth and developmental milestones, record immunizations, and keep copies of school and sports physicals.

•If you are newly (or soon to be) wed — Creating a PHR will provide background health and medical information that your spouse might not otherwise know.

• If you are a “snowbird” or have a second home — You may be seeing a doctor in more than one city. Maintaining a PHR will keep each of your doctors up-to-date on your health.

* If you are proactive about your health — A PHR provides a place to record the results of diagnostic tests such as cholesterol levels, mammograms and bone density, as well as well as information about vitamins and supplements, and diet and exercise.

To start your PHR, Pozen suggests talking to your healthcare providers (primary care doctor, dentist, eye doctor and specialists) about how you can get pertinent information from your medical records, and asking your pharmacist for information regarding your prescriptions. Then write down emergency contact information and insurance information, and make a copy of any medical directive, preferences or living will.

All the information that makes up a PHR should be centralized and easily accessible. Because not all information is available in electronic format, one or more file folders or a three-ring binder is a good way to store your information. For many, a paper-based system such as the So Tell Me… personal health organizer is the best way to start. The question and answer format and pre-printed tabs and forms make it easy to get started with tracking family history, past and future appointments, medications, tests, treatments and more. (See www.sotellmeorganizer.com for details.)

Once you start your PHR, it is important to keep the information current, make sure others know where it is kept, and take it with you to each new healthcare visit. Whether for a scheduled doctor’s visit or a trip to the Emergency Room for yourself or someone you care for, the more prepared you are and the more easily you can communicate pertinent health information, the more helpful and effective your healthcare visits will be.

Article courtesy of ARAcontent

Comments are closed.