How can Digital Tools Help Me Manage My Health Information?

Having all your health information in one place can help you be in control of your and your loved one’s health and care. But keeping track of your medical records can be difficult if your health information is in multiple places, in various formats, such as paper,  or if you see  several doctors for your care. .

Today, many apps and online services exist to make the job of organizing this information easier. And in some cases, these tools also help you share information among doctors and other family members so everyone is on the same page. Here are some digital tools that can help you manage your health information:

 

Patient Portal

A patient portal is a secure website through your doctor’s office or health system that provides you or the people you authorize the ability to view your health information.  You may also be able to download your health information or share it electronically with others, such as family members or your doctors.

You may have multiple patient portals from all the places where you receive care such as your primary care physician, a hospital, your specialists, your pharmacy, laboratories, and your insurance provider. Each of these portals requires a username and password.  A password management program/software can help you safely and securely manage all the passwords you have for all your patient portals.  

 

Personal Health Record (PHR):

A personal health record (PHR) is an electronic application that can help you maintain and manage your  health information in a private, secure, and confidential environment.  A personal health record (PHR) is similar to the electronic health record (EHR) that your doctor might keep, except that you manage your information and control who has access to it. A PHR can include a variety of sources, including health care providers and patients themselves.  Many PHRs give you the option of adding information you think is relevant but that your doctor may not have, like information about your over-the-counter medications, exercise habits or sleep schedule. For the most part, these PHRs don’t connect to an employer, health system, or insurer. These systems are typically web based, and available for free or for a small subscription fee.

 

Health Apps:

There are several apps for your smartphone, tablet, or mobile device that can assist you with managing and organizing your health information. These apps may offer additional features like collecting fitness, nutrition, sleep, and other health information you track and setting up reminders for medications, tests, and appointments.  You can find these apps wherever apps are sold. 

When looking for an app, be sure to read the privacy policy and terms and conditions to make sure the app securely handles your information and does not sell or share your personal information without your permission. 

Whatever the health IT solution you choose, you have a federally guaranteed right to see and get a copy of your medical records from most health care providers, including doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and nursing homes, as well as from your health plan. You have a right to ask that your plan or provider give you this information electronically if your plan or health care provider is able to do so.  For more information about your right to access your records, visit the HHS Office for Civil Rights

Content last reviewed on November 14, 2017
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