How to Select a Personal Health Record

How to Select a Personal Health Record

There are many PHRs on the market today. But, picking the right plan for you family doesn’t have to be hard if you know what you are looking for.

If you want to start a Personal Health Record (PHR), it’s important to choose a plan that will fit your lifestyle. Before you choose a PHR plan, shop around to find the one that is right for you.

What are some things to think about when choosing a PHR?

First, try to find a PHR plan that has everything you need. When looking at different plans, you might want to ask the following questions:

  • If you travel, can you take your PHR with you? If the PHR is for your children or an aging adult, can more than one person access and update it?
  • How much does the plan cost and are there any other fees?
  • How long has the company been around, and what happens if they go out of business?
  • What is their privacy policy? Will they share your information with anyone?

What are some additional features of a PHR?

Many PHRs offer additional features that can help you manage your health care. Not all plans are the same, and some plans will charge extra for more features. Some things a PHR might include are:

  • A calendar to keep track of medical appointments
  • Reminders to refill prescriptions
  • Warnings about medications and drug interactions
  • Suggestions for activity and nutrition
  • Family plans for tracking several people

Where are your records are kept?

For most PHR services, there are three ways that you can store your information. Where and how your health records are kept is important. Your health records can be stored on the Internet, using software or on paper.


A PHR that is Internet-based can be helpful if you travel often. Your PHR is stored on the Web, and you can log into it from any computer that has Internet access. Internet PHRs are password protected to keep your health records safe. One problem with this method is that you may need it when you’re in a place that doesn’t have Internet service. If you can’t log onto the Internet, you won’t be able to access your records.

Most Internet-based PHRs have articles, links and resources to help you make health choices. Some Internet-based PHRs are free, while other plans have a monthly fee. A Web-based PHR will let you make reports that you can print, or even e-mail. Being able to print reports can be helpful if you are managing a PHR for a child or aging adult.


A software-based PHR is a program that you install on your computer. These programs store your health records on your computer, and not on the Internet. There are two ways that you can buy a software-based PHR. One is to buy it online and download the software to your computer. The other is to buy the program on a CD and install it on your computer.

People with laptop computers might want software-based PHRs. This way, they can take their records with them when they travel. Software-based PHRs can make custom reports like an Internet-based PHR.

Paper records

If you do not have a computer, a paper-based PHR is a good option. Paper-based PHRs are stored in a binder or folder to keep the information together. One advantage is that you can take it with you when you travel or when you visit the doctor. A problem with a paper-based PHR is that it can be damaged or lost. Some Web sites offer free paper-based PHRs that you can download and print.

If you are comfortable using a computer, an Internet-based or software-based PHR may be the best choice for you. A paper-based system may be a better way to store your health records if you:

  • Have a hard time reading a computer screen
  • Have problems typing
  • Do not have access to a printer
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