Personal Health Ownership
Monday, March 14, 2011 | Dr. Carrie Nelson
Getting yourself a Personal Health Record is an important step along the way to Dr. Carrie's holy grail...Personal Health Ownership
was having a conversation with my mom recently and she spoke of some of
the challenges she's had with making sure her doctors have all the
information about her health. Even when they've been given such
information or went through a medical episode with her, she noted "they
don't remember". Guilty here! I admit that my own memory is imperfect
regardless of how special the relationship or what shared history I have
with a patient.
The traditional paper medical record is
especially notorious for failing to be helpful in such situations. And,
I've yet to personally experience the electronic medical record that
nicely captures a patient's complete medical story at a glance. Until
we have a fully interoperable electronic information network, and alas,
probably not even then, you will find your medical team at risk of
functioning with incomplete information in caring for you.
are the only one who can help to bridge that gap- both today and (I
have to believe) even in the future. Your medical information lives in
various places - you move, you go to different doctors and hospitals,
you travel and have a medical happening while visiting Aunt Edna. Or...
more commonly, Aunt Edna has a medical happening while visiting you.
You can and truly must
- both yourself and Aunt Edna. Here's a pretty simple way how. Get
yourself and your loved ones a Personal Health Record (PHR). Here's a
definition of a PHR according to the American Health Information Management Association
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.
health insurance company may offer a PHR and some employers do as well.
These are good options. Just make sure you take the information with
you when you change insurance or jobs. You'll probably have to transfer
it to another PHR. PHRs can also be purchased but many are available for
free to you right now!
For a comprehensive list of considerations, see this great resource
from AHIMA. In fact AHIMA has done a lot of work to assemble the PHR options all in one place. Go to this website
to scan the numerous options, or
from one of my favorites listed below. Now I put some work into this
for you. I went through all the options listed on the AHIMA website and
entered my email address - big sacrifice just for you
- considering all the spam I'm sure to get as a result! You can thank me by telling all your friends to follow my blog and like me on Facebook
So, here are my personal suggestions for a free PHR with which you can get started right away:myHealthFolders
- This one is my personal favorite. You can enter reminders for
yourself like "get a mammogram", "take your medicine" and have the
system call you with the reminder. You can even choose a male or female
voice! The only challenge I had was with entering a medical procedure.
Even though I know the medical terminology, it took me a while to find
the right term for an upper endoscopy. I wound up having to enter
"esophago" which took me to 91 matches, finding
esophagogastroduodenoscopy. I don't know how many non-medical types
would have gotten there. I really liked that when I entered my doctor's
name along with the city and state it resulted in a search that
accurately entered her address and phone right into my record.Google Health
- Google is good at so many things. This PHR is pretty good although
the look and feel seem like it's in beta to me. Not as slick as
- Not bad. Again, didn't quite match up to myHealthFolders but pretty
user friendly and without excessive layers before you could start
Get one of these personal health records
for you and your loved ones. You can also just keep track in a word
document or on paper - just make sure you keep it continuously updated
and share it with all your healthcare providers. Take a look at all the
reasons you should do this now!Dr. Carrie Nelson is a family physician, mother of three young men and developer of Doctor Carrie's Better Living Snacks. Visit her blog or Facebook page for more information.
The content and links above represent the author's opinions and do not represent endorsement by AHIMA
caregivers, family, phr, parents