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Why Should You Keep a Personal Health Record?

You make the difference. A new study suggests that a change in the way we keep health records could save billions. The study found that providing interoperable PHRs to 80% of the US population would cost $3.7 billion in startup costs and $1.9 billion in annual maintenance costs. According to the report from the Center for Information Technology Leadership at Partners Healthcare System in Boston, widespread use of PHRs could save the US healthcare industry between $13 and $21 billion a year.

Your health information is scattered across many different providers and facilities – and possibly even somewhere online. Keeping complete, updated and easily accessible health records means you can play a more active role in your healthcare as well as that of family members or others in your care. Just as healthcare providers keep their records of you. The record you keep of your healthcare visits and providers gives a more complete picture of your health history. Our health information experts discuss the benefits and risks involved in selecting the appropriate PHR.

PHRs can include any information about your health, especially information that your doctor may not have, such as your exercise routines, hereditary illnesses in your family or changes in your dietary habits. It is important to be aware that since PHRs are not part of a provider’s electronic health record, they are not considered to be legal records, and therefore, are not covered by HIPAA.

Ways your PHR can Make a Difference

The PHR can enable you to partner with your healthcare providers, or it can be a private reference used to keep your family informed about your health history. It can reduce or eliminate duplicate procedures or processes, which saves healthcare dollars, your time, and the provider’s time. The book, “The Personal Health Record” assists new users of PHRs in getting started, addressing current PHR trends and processes. And the information you gather gives you knowledge that assists your preparation for appointments. With your PHR, you can:

  • Knowledgably discuss your health with healthcare providers
  • Provide information to new caregivers
  • Have easy access to your health information while traveling
  • Access your information when your doctor’s office is closed
  • Record your progress toward specific health-related goals
  • Refer to physician instructions, prescriptions, allergies, medications, insurance claims, and more
  • Track appointments, vaccinations, and numerous other wellness healthcare services