Suppose you were in a car accident and arrived at the emergency room of the closest hospital alone and unconscious. Healthcare workers could search through your wallet and determine from your license and other identification cards just who you are and perhaps where you live. However, they would have a hard time figuring out your personal medical history; whether or not you have any allergies to drugs; whether or not you have chronic conditions for which you are being treated with medication; what is the best approach to treating you. That information could mean the difference between life and death. That is why a personal health record (PHR) is critical to your well being.
Your PHR is a comprehensive outline of all of your health information Theoretically it could be a written synopsis of your medical heath and history on paper, but that is the old fashioned way. Today technology enables you to have an electronic record of your medical health and history residing on a web site, CD, a smart card or on a chip that you, your designee or a provider can access with a user name and password. There is also an implantable device that when scanned directs a physician to a web site where your PHR resides.
Essentially an online PHR is a form that you fill out that includes comprehensive data about your health history, including: all medical issues, surgeries, allergies, medications you have been and are currently taking; information about your health proxy; the names of your primary care physician and your insurance provider. This information resides on a secure website and is easy for you to update and access. You need to designate an individual besides yourself who has access to the information in the event that you are physically or mentally unable to communicate the location of the information.
All you need to carry around with you is the access information to the PHR in the format of a piece of paper with a url on it and the name and contact information of the individual you have designated to relay your username and password that will provide access to the PHR.
Organizing a PHR online also enables you to carry with you a wallet size card that includes all of the medications your are currently taking – information that is vital to the doctors who are trying to figure out what to do with you in the emergency room.
Consider a PHR. Do it today.