personal health record
Medical News Print


By: Randy Gerber, Esq., Founder of

April 4, 2018

[Author’s Note: this is the second in a series on Medical Records. If you missed Part 1 What's in Elaine's Medical Record, here you go.]

Apple recently added a new feature call Health Records.  To find it on your iPhone go to the icon with a heart in the upper right hand corner.  You will see a page called Health Data.  Then press Health Records. If you don’t have an iPhone, no worries and keep reading. This article is about personal health records.  A personal health record is a first cousin (on your Doctor's side) of the medical record.   

Health Records and its Google counterpart Google Health (which is no longer functioning) are examples of personal health records.  These are records that you and I can keep and maintain.  These personal records are different than the records our doctors keep which are our medical records (they come in two flavors--paper and electronic).  Picture a world where you go to the doctor and as you leave the receptionist asks you “paper or electronic?” 

A personal health record  is an example of how we can start getting more active in our own care.  The Apple’s of the world and the 40 and counting hospitals who have joined them in this app are trying to get engaged--with us.  The magic words are patient engagement.

There is nothing you have to do right away--or ever.  In fact personal health records have been around for years. But times change and the stars appear to be aligned for personal health records to come of age.  And you should be ready. 

What’s in it for me?  Glad you asked.  Imagine you have on your iPhone confidential information about your allergies, shots, lab results, medications, surgeries, doctor visits, conditions and vital signs.  For starters it would save you the time and expense of getting your medical information from your doctor, say if you need to see a new doctor who doesn't have your medical records.  Second, you will be less likely to receive duplicative tests, which should bring your health care costs down. Third, the more information you can provide to your doctor the greater the chance of receiving  quality care.  And fourth, third-party apps will be developed to help you manage your health. The better the information we feed into these apps, the better the result. 

Personally, I like the idea of having control over my health information.  But, the process has to be easy before I would use it, and I would have to know that the information is secure (if and when I lose my phone or its hacked), but I like where this is going.   What do you think? Email me at

Thanks for reading. Randy

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