Personal Health Records- Advantages and Disadvantages

PersonalHealth Records- Advantages and Disadvantages

PersonalHealth Records- Advantages and Disadvantages

Personalhealth records (PHRs) are tools mainly meant for the consumption ofindividuals. The tools are critical for the consumers incommunicating with the healthcare providers in the management of theindividual’s health and healthcare. According to Tang et al.,(2006), personal health records are beneficial in the management ofmedical records. Through the PHRs medical errors can easily bereduced and quality of care can be increased by ensuring that it isefficient and accessible health care system. Just like any tool, thePHRs have its own merits and demerits.

Advantagesof PHRs


Throughthe management of one’s personal health information, consumers areempowered. Most of the PHRs in place are meant to serve three mainpurposes. The purposes include improvement in quality, ease ofaccessibility and having efficient care (Lee, Delaney &amp Moorhead,2007). All these purposes seek to empower consumers. Some of the PHRshave tools that allow the users to send their messages in a secureplatform to the healthcare providers. Additionally, the PHRs enableindividuals to schedule appointments with the doctors, raise criticalhealth questions, and even seek information in regards toprescription refills. Through the PHRs, individuals have been in aposition to manage properly their health (Lee, Delaney &ampMoorhead, 2007). Additionally, PHRs empower the consumers throughsupporting clinical decision-making.

Avenueof Communication to Consumers

Usually,most of the PHRs have their data integrated into the system of healthcare providers. According to Johnston et al., (2007), the systemsunder consideration include that of pharmacies, laboratories, andradiology clinics. Through the data incorporated, the users get tohave a complete view and comprehension of health information. A casein point is the developed Indivo type of PHR. Through this kind ofPHR, communication is provided between the health department and theconsumers in regards to the child immunization decision support.Through the PHRs, the users gain through ease of data tracking,increased understanding, and ease of communication (Johnston et al.,2007).

Easeof Accessibility to the data of Patients in Emergency Cases

Formost of the PHRs, the data of patients can easily be accessed becausethe data is integrated with electronic health records. Some of theinformation that is easily accessed include contact details,allergies, history of patient’s diseases and the medications thatthe patient is undergoing (Ueckert et al., 2003). The information caneasily be accessed through integrating the different information on asingle database. Having the information in this manner allows anotherindividual to access the information during the emergency (Ueckert etal., 2003).

Criticalin Management of Chronic Diseases

Personalhealth records are significant in the management of chronic diseases.Some of the chronic diseases that can easily be managed includediabetes. The management is done between the clinic visits throughhaving consultations with the providers. Having the PHRs is criticalas patients can easily learn about the manner in which lifestylechoices affect the diabetes health of individuals.

Improvementof Behavior

UsingPHRs by consumers, consumer health behaviors improve. Some of thehealth behaviors that are likely to be tamed and subsequently improveinclude less use of tobacco, improved exercises, change in diet ofindividuals and improved compliance with medication. For mostindividuals who use the PHRs, they are increasingly good at keepingup with the appointments as well as having updated health records ascompared to cohorts without. The PHRs ensures that these individualshave personally controlled health records and follow therecommendations and guidelines given to them. They can stay at homewhen there are infectious illnesses. Additionally, individuals withthe PHRs can easily exchange diseases management knowledge anddevelop relationships hence have improved behavior.


Accuracyof Data

Oneof the disadvantages of the PHRs is the accuracy of data as well asreliability upon entering and updating data. Most of the PHRs do notprovide enough guidance to the users especially the consumers on theprocess of abstracting the necessary and right information from thevarious prescription labels or the test reports. Usually, some of thePHRs have insufficient information with some of them lackingreferences.

Securityand Privacy of Data

Oneof the critical issues that surround adoption of PHRs is the degreeof security and privacy of data. Often, most of the tools that areused lack a clear and precise way of dealing with information privacypolicy and have no consent forms (Kaelber et al., 2008). The privacyof the PHRs mainly relies on the level of security. Most of theconsumers have mistrust in regards to the PHR security provisions aswell as have poor knowledge in regards to using their personal healthinformation (Kaelber et al., 2008). Therefore, to address this issue,there is a need to add very complex access controls.

LiteracyRelated Issues

Theuse of PHRs is affected by the digital divide problems especiallyamong the consumers who are not competent in the operating computers(Lober et al., 2006). The main individuals affected include theelderly and the disabled individuals as well as individuals withcognitive and physical impairments. Some of the issues that affectthe use include computer and internet skills, low health literacy,and less physical and cognitive abilities (Lober et al., 2006).


Johnston,D., Kaelber, D., Pan, E. C., Bu, D., Shah, S., Hook, J. M., &ampMiddleton, B. (2007). A framework and approach for assessing thevalue of personal health records (PHRs). In&nbspAMIAAnnual Symposium Proceedings(Vol.2007, p. 374). American Medical Informatics Association.

Kaelber,D. C., Jha, A. K., Johnston, D., Middleton, B., &amp Bates, D. W.(2008). A research agenda for personal health records (PHRs).&nbspJournalof the American Medical Informatics Association,&nbsp15(6),729-736.

Lee,M., Delaney, C., &amp Moorhead, S. (2007). Building a personalhealth record from a nursing perspective.&nbspInternationalJournal of Medical Informatics,&nbsp76,S308-S316.

Lober,W. B., Zierler, B. K., Herbaugh, A. L., Shinstrom, S. E., Stolyar,A., Kim, E. H., &amp Kim, Y. (2006). Barriers to the use of apersonal health record by an elderly population. In&nbspAMIA.

Tang,P. C., Ash, J. S., Bates, D. W., Overhage, J. M., &amp Sands, D. Z.(2006). Personal health records: definitions, benefits, andstrategies for overcoming barriers to adoption.&nbspJournalof the American Medical Informatics Association,&nbsp13(2),121-126.

Ueckert,F., Goerz, M., Ataian, M., Tessmann, S., &amp Prokosch, H. U.(2003). Empowerment of patients and communication with health careprofessionals through an electronic health record.&nbspInternationaljournal of medical informatics,&nbsp70(2),99-108.