Harvard Heart Letter

Links to resources for creating a personal health record

Making a personal health record can give you and your doctors a complete picture of your health. It can prevent medical errors or reduce duplicate tests. In an emergency, it can provide vital information that may not be immediately available from your doctors. A good general resource is myphr.com, a Web site sponsored by the American Health Information Management Association.

A personal health record can store everything from basic information about you to copies of x-rays and CT scans. At minimum it should contain:

  • your name, date of birth, and vital statistics like height and weight

  • a list of emergency contacts, along with contact information for all your health care providers

  • information about your health insurance

  • copies of your living will (advance directive) and durable power of attorney for health care, if you have them

  • information about allergies or sensitivities to medications

  • a brief history of your health, as well as a list of illnesses or conditions your parents, grandparents, and siblings have had

  • your current health conditions and how they are being treated

  • a dated list of significant illnesses and hospitalizations

  • an inventory of the medications you take, including dosage and how often you take them

  • lab test results

  • a dated list of immunizations

There are a variety of ways to make a personal health record. You can:

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  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
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