Maintain Your Medical Record
How can eHealth tools help me manage my personal medical and health records?
Keeping track of medical records can be difficult if your health information is in multiple places or in a format (such as paper) that is difficult to use. This challenge gets harder when working with several doctors to address several health concerns. Your doctor and other health care providers maintain their own medical records about you. But many patients see advantages in also maintaining their own personal health records to record past appointments, test results, prescriptions, and more. Today, many apps and online services exist to make the job of organizing this information easier. And in some cases, these tools also help patients and family caregivers share information among doctors and other family members so everyone is on the same page.
A personal health record (PHR) is similar to the electronic health record (EHR) that your doctor might keep, except that you store your most important health information and control who has access to it. Most PHRs require you to add your own information by scanning documents or typing in information. 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.
Some people have access to a patient portal through their employers, health care providers, or insurers. These organizations offer such tools with the goal of increasing patient engagement, which in turn, can improve health outcomes. Such systems typically add certain types of medical information to the patient’s portal automatically, and usually offer patients the option of adding more information on their own. Many organizations offer patients a way to download their health information through a portal system.
Whatever your own situation, 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. Learn more about how to access your medical records and about the Blue Button, a simple way for you to access your medical records online through our health care provider or health plan.
The Department of Health and Human Services or the U.S. Government does not endorse any product, service or general policies of any non-Federal entity nor is responsible for the content of any individual organization’s material or web pages found at these links.
Below, learn more about:
|Personal Health Records and eHealth Hubs|
|Personal Health Records (PHRs)||Microsoft Health Vault||A free PHR system that integrates with multiple web sites and personal health devices.|
|WebMD Health Manager||A free standalone PHR system with some options for sharing information with doctors and others.|
|NoMoreClipboard||A secure, online, easy-to-use tool that helps you compile, manage and share your medical records.|
|iBlueButton||A mobile and secure app to access, compile and share your Blue Button and other records with your doctors.|
Unlike full-fledged PHRs, these sites are focused more on health tracking tools, but include some PHR features such as record upload and sharing tools.
|TheCarrot.com||A personal health hub including multiple health trackers and some app/device integration. Includes some medication management and other PHR functions.|
|RememberItNow||A personal health hub with multiple health trackers, a strong focus on medication management, and some capacity to record medical history.|
|PHR and Medical Record Information for Consumers|
|Consumer Guides to PHRs||myPHR||A site specifically about PHRs, including an extensive guide to the systems available today. Sponsored by the American Health Information Management Association.|
|Patient Engagement||HealthIT.gov for patients and families||HealthIT.gov patients and families pages.|
|National Partnership for Women and Families blog post on consumers and Health IT||Blog post about Health IT for consumers from the National Partnership for Women and Families.|
|Blue Button||Information about “Blue Button,” a way to get easy, electronic access to your health information from some public and private insurers.|
|e-Patients||A guide and advocacy site offering resources for patients who want to become more engaged in their own care.|
|The Empowered Patient||Dr. Julia Hallisy’s site about empowering patients to become stronger self-advocates in their health care decisions. The site is also connected to Dr. Hallisy’s book of the same name.|
|E-Patient Dave||Known as “e-patient Dave,” cancer survivor Dave deBronkart has become a tireless advocate for patient engagement. On his site, he offers resources for patients, health care providers, and policy makers. You can also read more about e-patient Dave on this site, under Health IT stories.|
|Privacy and Consumer Protection||Privacy, Security, and Electronic Health Records||HealthIT.gov blog post on privacy and security issues.|
|HHS Office for Civil Rights||U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, the government agency charged with protecting your right to access your health information.|
|Health Privacy (CDT site)||Portal on health privacy issues from the Center for Democracy and Technology.|