Personal Health Records
Personal Health Records
Arthur Shorr (Former COO and SVP of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) gives expert video advice on: How do I create a personal health record?; Why is it important to keep personal health records for my child? and more...
What is a 'personal health record'?
A personal health record is a permanent personal record that you, as an individual, keep about your medical history. It includes any diagnoses that have been made by physicians about you. A personal health record includes medications that you take - including dosages - allergies that you may have or previous surgeries that you have, any and all immunizations with the dates of your immunizations and any information that you would like a physician or a hospital to know about you if you were not able to speak to that individual directly.
Where should I store my personal health record?
That really depends on your lifestyle and your level of organization; it's not so much important where you store the personal health record, as long you or someone else that you know well can get access to it when you need it. It really doesn't matter where you store it. Some people keep index cards listing their medications in their wallet, and some people carry a copy of their personal health record when they travel outside The United States.
How will my personal health records be useful if I'm hospitalized?
If you're hospitalized, the more information you can provide your physician and your care-givers, the easier it will be to figure out what medical problems you are having at that time and how best to treat that. It's always helpful if you can give your physician accurate information about your medical history, and a written personal health record makes that process easy for you to do, especially if you are unable to communicate well, or in pain, or distracted by the reason you are in the hospital.
Why is it important to keep personal health records for my child?
You are going to be asked by all schools that your child attends and/or camps, for immunization and dental records for your child through their school years. It's going to be very important for you to communicate any specific medical conditions, any specific allergies that your child has and any specific situations that others who will be in charge of your child in your absence need to know in order to maximize your child's safety. Later in life, your child is going to need to provide that history to their physician just like you keep your own personal medical records. Starting as a child and building that medical record history going forward gives your child a very comprehensive medical history that goes back into the time in their life where they may not have the recall or the remembrance about may have happened to them.
Why should I get a copy of my hospital records after discharge?
A copy of your every hospitalization should be part of your personal health record. At least you should get a copy of the discharge summary because that will contain all the information that anyone would want to know about your situation for the circumstances of the moment. If you have a complex or chronic medical condition, if you require ongoing care, it is very useful for that care-giver to know what the history of your situation is and, if it has developed over the years, know your situation based on your own personal history. A personal health record is about customizing the care for your own needs.