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Personal Health Record Tools

In the previous entry, Personal Health Records in Your Future, we pointed out the benefits of maintaining your own medical records. The personal health record (PHR) you would put together would be an invaluable compilation of your medical history across all the health providers you interact with.   Once filled out, it would give you and your medical advisors a more complete picture of your physical condition and result in better decisions regarding your welfare.

Recent statistics show that consumers are just beginning to be aware of PHRs and their usefulness. A 2005 study by Health Industry Insights found that consumers survey, 83 % had never used a PHR.  Of those, half had never heard of a PHR.   A more recent study by the California HealthCare Foundation, however, found that 40% of the people they surveyed were interested in starting one.  What keeps more people from adopting this valuable tool?  Perhaps the biggest factor, is the time and effort required to create and maintain it.  But help is on the way.

If you are a Kaiser Permanente member, the integration of your medical records has already been done for you.   More than half of Kaiser members have taken advantage of this by reviewing their records online and adding additional information to their PHR profile. However, if you aren’t a Kaiser member, there are other options available, including internet services and PC/Mac software that will make the process easier and less time consuming.

Two of the most well-known Internet services are Google Health and Microsoft HeathVault.  Both offer forms for entering your health information.  They’ve partnered with leading health care providers to automate integration of your health care data.  In addition, they offer
add-in software to manage weight loss, blood pressure, and track fitness goals.  Both give you password protected access to your health information and offer security and privacy assurances.  Another online resource for recording your Personal Health Record is WebMD It excels in features such as health risk assessments, goal-setting and tools for monitoring progress.  Among the software offerings is HealthMinder.  Another software product, My Life Record, is down-loadable to IPhones and Androids as well as PCs and Macs.

As a service to my readers (and because I think it’ll be quite interesting), I’m going to test drive these Personal Health Record internet services and some of the software available.   I’ll report back with my experiences and opinions.  Stay tuned.

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