How Your Personal Health Record Helps Your Quest for Good Health

When you're making decisions about your personal health care and wellness activities, where do you look for the information you need?

If rummaging through papers and files on your desk, computer or kitchen table or calling your doctor is your usual course of action, MyUHCare Personal Health Record (PHR) can make life easier.

“With your PHR, you maintain, manage and have access to your own health information directly, without the need to make calls and pick up papers,” says Jeffrey Sunshine, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Information Officer, University Hospitals.

“With this technology tool, your information is available through a secure website or, more germane to many people today, on a mobile device through a highly rated app.”

Benefits of Your PHR

There are a number of ways a PHR gives you more control and access to your personal health care. Dr. Sunshine says these include:

Ease of use. Once you've created your PHR account, it's accessible through the browser on your cell phone, tablet or computer or by downloading the FollowMyHealth mobile app. This enables you to quickly and easily find and review your personal health information, such as:

  • Health records, including allergies, medications, immunizations, medical conditions, height, weight and blood pressure
  • Your provider's notes with a summary of your office visit, your treatment plan and next steps
  • Details about your current and past appointments
  • Test results, radiology reports and office visit notes
  • A health directory where you can learn more about your diagnosis and conditions
  • The ability to access and pay your bill

Secure communications. How often have you forgotten to ask a health question while at a doctor's visit? With PHR, you can send follow-up questions faster and communicate about non-urgent issues efficiently.

“You can request prescription refills electronically and request to set-up appointments with your current providers,” Dr. Sunshine says.

Care coordination. You can choose to share your PHR with hospitals and other providers outside the UH health system.

Family health management. If you manage health care for a child under the age of 18, or are a legal guardian for an elderly parent or other adult, you can request to view and manage that person's online health record.

For instance, parents often need their child's recent immunization records, and PHR makes accessing that information easier. While the process does require a few more sign-up steps, it means that managing another person's health care will be more convenient once it's completed.

As a consenting adult, you can also choose to allow access to your PHR information if you want to share it with your spouse, caregiver or other family members.

Emergency care or care while traveling. With spring break and summer vacations just around the corner, an online PHR can be invaluable if you're traveling.

“You can pull up information on your phone and show it to a provider,” Dr. Sunshine says. “You have access to your information in an emergency.”

Chronic disease management. Your PHR gives you the ability to track your blood pressure, blood sugar readings or other lab results. Many people find this motivational, Dr. Sunshine says, and it encourages them to try to get to or keep their key health numbers within a healthy range.

Launched in October 2013, MyUHCare PHR has evolved and improved the services it provides. For more information about MyUHCare Personal Health Record, including how to sign up, visit MyUHCare online.

Jeffrey Sunshine, MD, PhD is Chief Medical Information Officer, University Hospitals, and a neuroradiologist and Vice Chairman, Department of Radiology, who practices primarily at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. You can request an appointment with any University Hospitals doctor online.

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