Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why YOU Should Have a PHR

Keeping a personal health record (PHR) is like keeping a blog or a diary of your health.  Do you remember when you last vaccinations were and what they were for?  Do you know what medications you're allergic to?  Do you remember the dates and reasons for the every surgery and hospital visit?  Where do you keep all of these records?  By keeping a PHR electronically, you will have all this information at your fingertips 24/7 wherever you have access to internet.

You: On A Record

Your PHR is a portfolio of your medical history.  It's where you will record chronic illnesses and health problems as well as your family's health history.  It will have the list of your vaccinations, allergies, a list of medications you've taken - past and present with their dosages - and whether or not you were allergic to any of them.  There you will also keep lab test results, scans, X-Rays, hospitalization records and surgeries.  By keeping your records electronically, it enables you to keep your records organized and in one location, rather than in boxes in the attic, basement and garage.     

Always Be Prepared

Yup, just like the tell you in Scouts.  Nobody likes to think about it, but bad things can and do happen.  Most of us, at some point in our lives, will unexpectedly wind up in the emergency room.  Your ER doctor will be able to see all of your records with the click of a mouse.  Step on a rusty nail?  Your PHR will tell the doctor when you last had your tetanus shot.  The good thing about going digital is that it won't matter which emergency room you're in, whether it's in London, Buenos Aires, Tokyo or down the street from you own home.  

Keep It In The Family

You may also want to give your family access to your records too, just in case of emergencies.  Should the ER call your emergency contact number, that person would also be able to inform the ER doctor of any important medical information by being able to view your records.  By sharing among family members, you can spot health patterns that run in the family and prevent them from occurring or getting worse.  Many of people find keeping PHRs for their elderly parents to be beneficial, as adult kids are usually ones the ones that take them to doctors appointments and pick up their prescriptions and need to have their information on hand.

Be A Work In Progress

Keeping a PHR is a great way to monitor your own vital scores.  Whether you check your blood sugar multiple times every day or get your cholesterol checked once a year, keeping an up to date record enables you to monitor your test results or progress.  Aiming to lose a few pounds or lower your blood pressure?  Talk to your doctor about setting a goal for yourself and create a plan together on the best way to reach it.  Your PHR will allow you to enter your weight or blood pressure on a regular basis and you will be able to see yourself achieving your goal.         

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