1. What information is included in my PHR?
Your PHR will have the ability to include a health summary, risk factors such as allergies, family and social histories, routine and emergency contact details, health insurance account information, care reminders, medication history and a list of office visits, inpatient hospital stays and outpatient hospital treatments. You may also choose to include other important information (e.g. over-the-counter medications or counseling services you may receive).
2. Where does the information in my PHR come from?
Your PHR can be populated from a variety of different sources. Some of the information will be entered by you. Other pieces of information may be provided automatically through your visits to clinicians and from the claims paid by your health insurance company. In some cases, your PHR can be pre-populated with historical and current medical and pharmacy information from multiple electronic sources and updated periodically.
3. How will the information from my PHR be used?
You can use the information in your PHR to keep track of all of your personal health information. Clinicians you see may use the information in your PHR to help determine a course of treatment and to coordinate care for chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
4. Where is my PHR?
Typically, PHRs are kept on a secure Web site that users access with a personal login name and password. Only you or a person you give authorization to can create or update your PHR. PHR are saved on a Web site that may be associated with or sponsored by your health insurance company; linked to your clinician, an independent commercial Web site such as WebMD® or Microsoft Health VaultTM; or provided through health information exchanges, which are secure, electronic systems — run by official local or regional organizations — that give clinicians fast access to the information they need to provide quality care.
5. Who could see the information in my PHR?
Only individuals authorized by the consumer may have access to the information. These authorized individuals may be clinicians, a family member or another person(s) you identify. In an emergency, the clinicians that are caring for you also may be able to see the personal health information contained in your PHR, should you authorize this feature.
6. How will clinicians access the PHR?
You may elect to give your clinicians a hard copy summary of your PHR before or at the time of your visit. Also, with your authorization, you can have your information transmitted securely to your clinicians or their authorized staff so that they can view your personal health information before or during your visit.
7. Can I choose what PHR information clinicians see?
PHRs may afford some control over what an authorized clinician or care giver is able to view. If clinicians access your personal health information, they will be able to see some or all of your PHR's contents, based on your choices and the privacy options provided by the PHR system you are using. At any time, you can review your PHR, assign access authorizations and/or restrict access to your records.
8. Can I access my PHR if I change physicians or health insurance companies?
In general, the answer is yes, although the specifics regarding how a PHR can be moved may depend on the type of PHR and on who hosts your PHR Web site.