Thanks to the adoption of EHRs—electronic health records—it is easier than ever before for physicians to share information with each other and for every provider to have access to a complete view of your health. These records provide physicians with information about diagnoses, tests and results, and current medications, which helps to cut down on errors and reduce the risk of redundant tests and treatments. However, despite these advances, it is still helpful to for patients to maintain their own personal health records. Doing so is easier than you may think. Here is what you need to know.
A personal health record —or PHR—is created and managed by you. It can contain much of the information that is in the EHRs your physicians manage, but it can also hold information that you think is important that your doctors don’t track. Some of the things that people include in PHRs that might not be in their EHRs are:
- Over-the-counter medications and dosages
- Vitamins/nutritional supplements and dosages
- Exercise habits
- Eating habits
- Sleep habits
- Symptom journals
Starting a PHR
Although you can keep paper medical records, most people who start a PHR do so using a web-based system. There are several online PHR, both for free and for a small fee. Check the features of each system closely. The difference between free PHRs and fee-based ones usually have to do with the amount of storage provided and management capabilities.
When you select a PHR, you will have to add your own information manually or by scanning documents. You will also have to keep it updated as needed, as you get new diagnoses or medications.
Sharing Your PHR
Most PHRs can be viewed only with people you share them with. However, some people use PHRs provided by their healthcare network or insurance company. In these cases, your providers or insurance company may automatically have access to your information.
At Riverside Community Hospital, the MyHealthOne Patient Portal is a great way to manage your health information. All of our providers also have access to your medical records through an EHR system, making it easier for your physicians to share information. For more information or a referral to a provider at our hospital in Riverside, call (951) 788-3463.