What is a personal health record or PHR?
A personal health record or PHR is a medical health record where all your medical records are maintained and stored. They are stored as files in a folder for easy access, and they are quite comprehensive. You will have all your life’s medical records that have relevant information regarding your health. The most effective PHRs will contain all the information such as action plans, online journals, and wellness tools.
A PHR can be maintained in the following three ways.
- You can have hard copies of all your medical information. You can store it in files or folders depending on how many documents you have with you. For example, if you have lots of documents, then you would feel more comfortable storing in file folders.
- You can save the details of your medical information on your computer. You can obtain the information from the hospital and then store it on your computer wherever you like. To be on the safe side, you should always keep a backup of your health record.
- PHR can be stored using a software. Many applications are now available so that you can save all of your medical information in those. You can easily store everything through your smartphone which makes it easy to access whenever the need arises.
What does a personal health record contain?
The personal health record should contain everything regarding your health. The following are the main components that your PHR should contain.
This may sound basic, but it is imperative. Your identification is what distinguishes you from another person. You need to have something that identifies you. For example, your social security number is one piece of information that is quite vital. You can have any other identification proof from the government. This helps you in an emergency so that appropriate action can be taken without any waste of time. You can keep some necessary information so that it is easy for someone to identify you and fetch your details when the need arises. This can be helpful for a lot of reasons.
Bills and insurance claims
When it comes to medical bills, they can run into a lot of money in the blink of an eye. This is why you need to keep a record of how much you paid. You need to always have the bill, and this should be included in the PHR because many times there are errors in them. This can affect your credit score and impact in other ways as well. This is why you must always ensure that you can compare the bills provided and the insurance claim. If there is anything amiss, then you should resolve it at the earliest. You can include all such information in your PHR.
You need to include what medications you took in the past and what you are taking right now at present. The personal health record needs to have this information. For example, even if you took an over the counter medication, you need to include it in your health record. Only in this manner will you have transparent information regarding the medications that you took. You should include any medication that you took including herbal medicines, prescribed medication, and even when you tried home remedies. If you have taken illegal drugs, then you should write that in our PHR too.
What did you get shots for? And do you even remember when you got all your shots? Not many people can remember exactly which shots they had and when they had them. This is why you need to have all the immunization records in your PHR. This can easily slip by your mind, but it is imperative to know which shots were given and when they were given. Especially in the case of children, you need to record which shots they had when and where. Sometimes schools provide immunizations, and so you should keep records of that as well.
You need to have information regarding your blood group in the personal health record, and you need to remember it too in case the need for it arises. If you were involved in a major accident and there was a requirement for blood to save your life, the concerned people will be able to look at your PHR and ensure that you get the blood transfusion that you require. This can be lifesaving and can help get things done pretty fast too which can make a huge difference. If you do not have your blood group mentioned then extra time would be wasted such as drawing blood from you and then sending it to the lab for results.
Chronic health issues
Did you have any health issues that you suffered from for a long time? Did you have any chronic conditions that you suffered from? You need to be as specific as possible about how the chronic health issue felt and what was done about it. You can include the surgery that you went through because of the chronic illness. You should include all the information such as the dates on which you went through the surgery or operation. If you had gone through surgery then what was the outcome? Don’t forget to include the result as well.
Did you get tested for allergies at any point in time in your life? If so then you need to include the results in your personal health record. This may not sound like much, but allergy tests can help determine what you can be given and what can prove fatal to you. For example, some allergies can even cause death which is why having the information regarding your allergy test results in your PHR is crucial. Allergies can often have detrimental consequences. Having all the allergy information in your PHR can help your life to be saved.
What kind of tests did you get done? Did you get your physical done anytime lately? You need to have all the information regarding tests in your PHR too. You need to know when you got your physical examination done to ensure you are disease free. You need to have the screenings along with all the tests that you have done. You should have the documents that show the results of the tests as well. This can help the medical practitioner understand what problems are present and how to deal with them in the case of an emergency. You should specify the dates when you get the tests done for clarity.
Family medical history
Many health issues crop up due to genetics, and this is why having a family medical history in your PHR is vital. If your grandparents or someone in your family had cancer, then you should be aware of that and so should the medical professionals. Although it is not necessary that you will get something just because your family had it, there is a chance that you might get it. Having all this in your personal health record is important. It can help medical health professionals understand symptoms better too.