Are there any drawbacks to personal health records?
Building a complete health record takes some time. You have to collect and enter all your health information. Plus, you have to keep your record current by updating it each time you see a doctor, fill a prescription, have a test or go to the hospital.
Why isn't there an easier way? Doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and insurance companies have been slow to adopt information technology. Only a minority of these groups can send information electronically to your personal health record.
Even if your doctor can send information to your personal health record, you need to review whatever is sent. The process of transferring health data electronically is still in its infancy — and it isn't always perfect.
Will the information be kept private?
Perhaps the most common concerns about personal health records are about privacy and security. To address these concerns, reputable systems follow industry best practices, such as making their privacy policies public and submitting to monitoring by independent organizations. Also, the federal government is working to strengthen rules governing the security of health information held by personal health record systems.
Where do I start?
As with any decision about your health, it's important to do a little research before you jump in. When you're evaluating your options, consider these questions:
- Is the system easy for me to use?
- Can I enter all the information I want to track?
- How will my information be kept private?
- Will information be added to my record from outside sources, such as insurance or doctors' offices? How and what will be added?
- Can I correct or delete information in my record?
- Can I share information with my doctor and other caregivers?
- Can I upload data from home-monitoring devices, such as a peak flow meter or blood pressure cuff?
- What will it cost? Are there any special fees?
- Will it help me manage my health by providing information and advice?
- Can I create an account for my whole family and manage information for my family members?
Putting it all together
As important as it is to gather your health information in one spot, you won't achieve the full benefits unless you use the information to manage your health. To help you to do that, Mayo Clinic has created Mayo Clinic Health Manager, which is powered by Microsoft HealthVault.
Mayo Clinic Health Manager generates reminders and recommendations specific to each family member's life stage and health status. And as you enter more personal health information, Mayo Clinic Health Manager delivers more specific and customized recommendations. So, for example, Mayo Clinic Health Manager might recommend getting a pneumococcal immunization and annual influenza immunization if you have asthma.
Jun. 16, 2011
See more In-depth
- Raisinghani MS, et al. Personal health records: Key adoption issues and implications for management. International Journal of Electronic Healthcare. 2008;4:67.
- Get your medical records in one place. Microsoft HealthVault. http://www.healthvault.com/personal/scenario/medical-info.aspx. Accessed March 31, 2011.
- HHS strengthens health information privacy and security through new rules. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. bhttp://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/07/20100708c.html. Accessed March 31, 2011.
- My personal health record? MyPHR.com. American Health Information Management Association. http://www.myphr.com/StartaPHR/why_keep_a_phr.aspx. Accessed March 31, 2011.
- Tang PC, et al. Your doctor's office or the Internet? Two paths to personal health records. New England Journal of Medicine. 2009;360:1276.
- Tang PC, et al. Personal health records: Definitions, benefits, and strategies for overcoming barriers to adoption. Journal of American Medical Informatics Association. 2006;13:121.
- Helping consumers select PHRs: Questions and considerations for navigating an emerging market. American Health Information Management Association. http://library.ahima.org/xpedio/groups/public/documents/ahima/bok1_032260.hcsp?dDocName=bok1_032260. Accessed March 31, 2011.
- Expert advice based on your health profile. Mayo Clinic Health Manager. https://healthmanager.mayoclinic.com/Introduction.aspx. Accessed March 31, 2011.