Personal Health Records is a growing
concept about keeping the patients and their families informed. It is a fast-growing
concept that has shown many positive patient outcomes. “Personal health records
(PHRs) offer a tremendous opportunity to generate consumer support in pursing
the triple aim of reducing costs, increasing access, and improving care
quality. Moreover, surveys in the United States indicate that consumers want
Web-based access to their medical records (Ford EW, 2013). The purpose of PHR
is to provide patients with the most update information about their health. It
can also save patients money by not having to repeat routine tests other
doctors may order. Many of the PHR available to patients give the patients more
than just their test results and records. They can record vital information and
log their blood sugars, blood pressures, heart rates, and diets. Some systems
even can send a message to a doctor which would save time and money and avoid a
doctor’s visit. PHR are not only valuable to patients and doctors, but to
nurses as well. As nurses it is extremely beneficial to be able to have the
most update information on the patient we are taking care of. It can save time
from getting records from another hospital, and helps when family members are
unsure of all their tests and medical history of their loved ones.

Example
of Personal Health Records

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            We live in a world today where
almost everyone has technology available 24/7, and people want to be able to
access all their information any time they need it. Personal Health Records is
an amazing technology that greatly increases patient outcomes.

Almost every health system has their own
version of a Personal Health Record. There are several different types of
PHR’s. There is the basic PHR that contains the patient’s basic information
such as, doctor’s name, past medical history, list of allergies, advance
directives, and current medications. The PHR can be updated by the patient with
any changes in their medicines or personal information.

The second type is called patient portals.
This is more in depth PHR that is linked with the patients Electronic Health
Record. With the patient portal, patients can access their lab work, test
results, and summaries of hospital or ER visits. Some patient portals even can
track the patients blood pressures, so the doctor can access to look for any
trends. Patient portals are extremely beneficial to patients who see multiple
doctors. It gives the patient all their information in one place, and allows
doctors to access this information as well.

Personal
Experience

            I have used Personal Health Records
for my personal and professional life. I was fortunate to have access to
patient portal through my health care system when I experienced issues through
my first pregnancy. I had multiple issues during this pregnancy which led me to
have a placental abruption at 27 weeks, and was flown to a hospital out of my
health care system. On arrival to this hospital, I was able to pull up my
patient portal for the doctors to have quick access to my past health records
and come up with the best plan of care for my child and myself. The hospital
could have gotten access to my records, but it saved valuable time for them to
have the information right away.

            In my professional life I have dealt
with patient portals multiple times. Working on a stroke unit we deal with
patient’s needing MRI’s to diagnosis a stroke almost every day. Usually this is
not a problem until we discover a patient has had a heart stent placed and need
to make sure that the stent is compatible with the MRI machine. Most patients
care their stent information cards, but I have experienced several patients who
have lost them and are unsure what type of stents they have. Typically, we wait
to get the information sent from the hospital the procedure was performed at,
but in emergency situations we can use patient portals to access this
information much quicker.

            The only downside to PHR’s is that every
health care system has their own system and it is not shared by all. Many patients
see multiple doctors and they may belong to different health care systems, so not
all the patient’s information will be included in their patient portal. When this
occurs, patients are left with an incomplete health record, and are not able to
access all their test results.

Conclusion

Patient Health Records are an amazing tool
available to provide the best outcomes for patients. They not only benefit the patient
and families, but doctors and nurses as well. This technology has been life saving
for many individuals, and has saved people time, money and stress.

 

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