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What is a PHR and how can it benefit children’s health?

A personal health record is defined as an electronic application through which individuals can maintain and manage their health information (and that of others for whom they are authorized) in a private, secure, and confidential environment.  The Markle Foundation’s Connecting for Health’s Phase I Personal Health Working Group go to exit disclaimer envisioned the following qualities for an ideal PHR:

  • Each person controls his or her own PHR. Individuals decide which parts of their PHR can be accessed, by whom and for how long.
  • PHRs contain information from one’s entire lifetime.
  • PHRs contain information from all health care providers.
  • PHRs are accessible from any place at any time.
  • PHRs are private and secure.
  • PHRs are “transparent.” Individuals can see who entered each piece of data, from where it was transferred and who has viewed it.
  • PHRs permit easy exchange of information with other health information systems and health professionals.

These qualities would be included in the ideal PHR, but not all have been implemented into existing PHRs.  For example, a goal for the future would be to provide PHRs that contain a comprehensive record of a patient’s history that can easily, safely, and privately be exchanged.  Additionally, these qualities must be adapted so that they are relevant to PHRs to be used in the pediatric setting.

Once adapted to fit the needs of the pediatric patients and families, the PHR can facilitate delivery of and quality improvement in children’s health.  The Children’s Partnership go to exit disclaimer notes that the PHR can improve children’s health by enabling information to become more mobile, networked, and accessible and by augmenting the delivery of care from providers in a way that improves and expands upon existing methods to communicate health information.  A presentation from the National Institute for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital go to exit disclaimer also mentions that the use of a PHR in pediatrics can encourage more coordination of care, help patients manage their conditions, and enable patients and families to expand their health knowledge.


An Introduction to Personal Health Records go to exit disclaimer- American Academy of Family Physicians

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