Creating a Personal Health Record


In this post we hope to help provide you with some items to think about when creating a personal health record.  This will be the start of a series on the importance of keeping records for your health or someone you care for.

1. Basic Profile

The basic profile will be the first page in the personal health record (PHR). The profile page will likely be the very first page you turn to. You can get a one to download right HERE.  Some items to consider adding are: name, date of birth, place of birth, nickname, gender, address, phone number(s), email, and a recent photo.

2. Emergency Contacts

This is the second most important category to include in the PHR. Write the name, phone, and email of the top two or three emergency contacts. Consider adding the primary care physician’s name, address, phone, and fax. You might want to include DNR and organ donation as well.

3. Medication List

Medications can change very frequently for some of our loved ones. While we do our best to keep on top of it, having a master list can be very helpful. It is nice to have the pharmacy name, address, and phone number on the top of the medication list.
For each medication, consider having the RX#, the name, dosage, frequency, time of day, and the last refill date. It is often helpful to also include any special details, like “don’t take this one with food” and “only take this one in an emergency.”

4. Doctor Contact Information

It is helpful to have all the various doctors your loved one is seeing so you can easily provide that detail to their primary care physician, case manager, or other care provider when asked. Keeping the doctor’s name, address, phone, and fax easily accessible is handy when you are trying to provide a lot of detail to a new doctor or specialist.

5. Tests and Procedures

This is one of the categories that is often overlooked and the one that could cost you money if you don’t keep track. Keeping a log of the test type, the date, the name of the ordering physician, the address, phone, and fax information can be helpful.

6. Insurance Information

The first thing it seems like the hospital or doctor office asks us when we arrive is for our insurance card. Once in awhile, we forget the card and they are not exactly happy about it. You can make a copy of the front and back of all of your cards to make it quick and easy.

7. Medical History of Your Loved One

Having the quick details on your loved one’s medical history can be a big help, especially if you are trying to wrangle them and someone else might need to help provide information. Important details to consider documenting are their name, date of birth, gender, and blood type.

8. Family Medical History

While knowing the details of your loved one is important, having details about their biological parents, siblings, and, if possible, grandparents can be helpful when filling out the never-ending family medical history forms each time you visit the doctor. Include the condition and the date they were diagnosed, if you know.

9. Calendar

While you probably have your appointments in an electronic calendar, it is nice to include of all the appointments that are related to the medical care of those you care for. Anything you might want others in your caregiving team to know, you can enter and share in the calendar.

10. Journal

Many caregivers underestimate the long-term impact caregiving can have on their own health and well-being. Since you may be spending some time hanging out in waiting rooms, having a journal as part of your loved one’s PHR can also help you keep track of how you are doing. You can track how you are feeling and/or what concerns you have that you want to discuss with the doctor for either your loved one or yourself.

If you want to learn step by step to create your own Personal Health Record (PHR), we have a full course available for our readers that takes you in depth & step-by-step. You can find out more here.

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Feature Photo by Beatriz Pérez Moya