Personal Health Records: Improving Health Care Quality

Personal health records (PHRs) can help your patients better manage their care. Having important health information – such as immunization records, lab results, and screening due dates – in electronic form makes it easy for patients to update and share their records. PHRs can:

  • Improve Patient Engagement: Much of what your patients do for their health happens outside clinical settings. When your patients can track their health over time and have information and tools to manage their health, they can be more engaged in their health and health care.
  • Coordinate and Combine Information from Multiple Providers: PHRs can promote better health care by helping your patients manage information from various providers and improve care coordination.
  • Help to Ensure Patient Information is Available: Online PHRs can ensure your patients’ information is available in emergencies and when your patients are traveling.
  • Reduce Administrative Costs: Your organization can reduce administrative costs by using a PHR to provide patients with easy access to electronic prescription refill and appointment scheduling applications.1 With PHRs, your staff can spend less time searching for patient-requested information and responding to patient questions.
  • Enhance Provider – Patient Communication: Many PHRs allow direct, secure communication between patients and providers. PHRs can make communicating with your patients faster and easier. With open lines of communication, you can be informed and intervene earlier if health problems arise and improve the provider – patient relationship.
  • Encourage Family Health Management: Having a system for tracking and updating health care information can help caregivers – such as those caring for young children, elderly parents, or spouses – manage your patients’ care and coordinate with you to improve health care quality.

For More Information

For more information on PHRs and how PHRs can improve health care quality and promote better health care, see the following resources.


  1. Kaelber D, Pan EC. “The Value of Personal Health Record (PHR) Systems.” AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2008.