Gone are the days when people used to carry their health records in unwieldy files when visiting a doctor. The advances in technology made it is possible to carry the entire documents in pocket-sized devices like CD-ROMs, pen drives and now on dedicated websites who take the responsibility of saving and updating medical data. To keep a track of our medical history and share and use it when necessary, we need to create a personal health record. Let us try to understand what it is exactly and what it can do for us and how can they make our life easy.
A personal health record is the consolidated information related to health; stored and managed by an individual. Today, they are also popularly known as, personal health diary, patient health record, or personal medical records. While the concept of this type of records is not new, it has evolved from a stage when these records were stored by the medical professionals and health care providers; to a stage where each person today is keeping their health records by using various technologies such as websites, personal health software and so on. The primary purpose of these is:
o To keep a track on personal health and
o To help the doctors for providing better care through the valuable health information.
Ideally, it should contain every single bit of information related to your health. The information stored in it may differ according to the software or service providers, but any personal health records will contain the crucial health information. Some of the most common parameters that a personal health record contains are as follows:
o Name of the patient, birth date, blood type
o Date of last physical tests or screenings
o Major illnesses or diseases occurred in past with dates
o List of medicines and dosages taken by you
o Allergies and chronic diseases
o History of illnesses in your family
This piece of information can be very important in case of emergencies and can save your life.
Personal health records have numerous benefits not only to the users but also to the health care systems and physicians. A detailed health record can be used by physicians to take important decisions in time of emergencies. Some of the significant benefits of personal health records are as follows:
o Empowering patients: personal health record allows the patients to access, update and verify their own medical records. With the use of personal health records, one can also set reminders for health maintenance services.
o Improves patient-doctors relationship: this is especially true when you have a family doctor or a physician to whom you frequently visits. Doctors find it easy to communicate with patients who own personal health records.
o Improves patient's safety: As the patient keeps updating their health records, it helps them to identify missed procedures and services, drug alerts, and important test results.