What are the benefits of personal health records?
They can help consumers and providers.
Patient-facing health information technology (HIT) platforms, such as personal health records (PHRs) and web portals, can help engage patients in their own health care, increasing their chances of bettering the quality of their care and their health outcomes.
PHRs offer control of protected health information (PHI) in ways not previously available. They can lead to better communication between patients/their families and providers, a more complete picture of a patient’s overall health, and more patient involvement in self-care and decision-making.
A personal health record is controlled by the patient and houses information from electronic health records, pharmacies, patient-entered data, etc. PHRs come in three forms:
• Free-standing—owned by the patient and typically hosted on an Internet-based platform, it is not officially associated with any other record;
• Tethered—hosted by one’s health care provider and linked to his or her electronic health record;
• Sponsored—provided by a patient’s employer or insurer and generally populated with information based on claims data.
Value of PHRs to Consumers
• Are portable and accessible anywhere
• Can share PHI with friends/family/caregivers/other providers
• Are a platform for personal health applications (mobile apps) for health improvement, decision-making about quality providers/services, and to support personalized medicine
• Document alternative/complimentary therapies and supplements
• Enable remote monitoring (e.g., BP, hemoglobin A1c), smoking cessation efforts, etc.
Value of PHRs to Both Consumers and Providers
• Offer immediate access to PHI, especially in emergencies
• Promote greater patient engagement in care, prevention, collaborative self-management, and shared decision-making
• Increase safety of care/prevention of medical errors and reduce unnecessary test duplication
• Improve medication management and monitoring
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