I created a PHR for myself on the website by Avado (n.d.), which is located at https://secure.avado.com/App.
According to the AHIMA Foundation (2013), research shows that the use of personal health records can result in cost savings for the American healthcare industry. In particular, this can lead to cost savings of 13 to 21 billion dollars per year (AHIMA Foundation, 2013). In addition, the use of PHRs enables the consolidation of patient records or patient information. It also enables patients to monitor and have control over their own and their family’s patient information. By keeping track of their healthcare visits and their providers, patients are able to keep a history of their health status. Moreover, patients can use personal health records to keep track of information that doctors don’t keep track of. These include information about things such as changes in the patient’s dietary habits, hereditary illnesses in the family, or exercise routines. As well, the use of personal health records prevents processes and procedures from being duplicated, which in turn results in time and cost savings for both the provider and the patient.
In sum, the use of personal health records enables patients to have informed discussions with health providers about their health. It also enables them to easily provide the necessary health information to new caregivers and allows them to easily access their health information even while traveling or when the doctor’s office is closed. As well, the use of personal health records enables patients to monitor their progress towards the achievement of their health-related goals and to track their vaccinations, appointments, and other healthcare services. Moreover, the use of personal health records enables the patient to easily refer to information on insurance claims, medications, allergies, prescriptions, and physician instructions.
In the story A woman's Facebook PHR saved her life, Maria Kovell (2011) tells the story of how a woman’s life was saved by her Facebook status messages regarding her health. This woman was rushed to the emergency room, but because she was a single mother with no relatives nearby, the doctors had no resource for information about her health condition. Fortunately, she had posted messages on her Facebook page, which provided information about her symptoms, medications, conditions, and hospitalizations for the previous months. Such postings also included the dates. All of this information then enabled the doctor to make the right decisions regarding her treatment, in turn enabling her to completely recover.
Reading this story made me realize how important it is to have my medical information easily accessible to the right people and how it can make the difference between life and death. At the same time, though, it made me think about how comfortable I would be about posting my health information on a social media site such as Facebook. On one hand, I acknowledge that this can prove to be useful under certain circumstances -- particularly in emergency situations. On the other hand, it also makes me feel worried about the possibility that such information might fall into the wrong hands. In this regard, I realized that while Facebook may not be the best place for posting my health information, keeping such information through means such as web-based PHR systems may be the best way for somehow keeping my health information private without compromising its accessibility.
AHIMA Foundation. (2013). Why should you keep a personal health record? Retrieved from
Avado. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://secure.avado.com/App.
Kovell, M. (2011, February 7). A woman's Facebook PHR saved her life. Retrieved from