A personal health record (PHR) is an app or computer program you can use to maintain and manage your health information privately, securely and confidentially. Keeping a PHR can help you coordinate care among your rheumatologist, dermatologist, physical therapist, cardiologist and any other providers you see.
You can get a PHR through your doctor or employer, or find one on the internet or in the app store of your phone. If you’re not comfortable having your information out on the cloud, you can keep your data in a loose leaf binder or a journal, or store it on a flash drive.
There are two types of PHR: standalone and tethered/connected.
- With a standalone PHR, you fill in your information and store it on your computer, in an app, or in a notebook. Some standalone PHR programs can accept data from external sources, like doctors’ offices and laboratories. With many standalone PHRs, you can add daily symptom, diet and exercise information. You decide whether and when to share information with your doctors, therapists or family members.
- A tethered, or connected, PHR is also called a patient portal. It is linked to a healthcare organization’s electronic medical record (EMR) system. With a tethered PHR, you can access your own records through a secure portal and see all your health records stored there. In some cases you can add information to your records, such as symptom and exercise information. If one of your doctors is not in the same health system, however, records from that doctor won’t be in your patient portal.
Your PHR – whether standalone or tethered — should contain:
- Personal statistics (height, weight, date of birth, etc)
- Emergency contact information
- Contact information for all your health care providers
- Your insurance policy number and phone number
- Your family medical history
- Your medical diagnoses
- A complete list of medications, including any over-the-counter medicines and supplements
- Your allergies
- A record of all recent vaccinations, diagnostic tests, and lab results
- A list of any recent procedures or hospitalizations
- A living will, power of attorney information
- Managing Psoriatic Arthritis with Multiple Doctors
- Use Time with Your Doctor Wisely
- Better Living Toolkit: Communicate with your Doctor