Personal Health Record

What Does Personal Health Record Mean?

A personal health record (PHR) is a type of medical record in which a patient has the ability to access and add information to his or her digital health file.


Techopedia Explains Personal Health Record

A PHR is similar to an electronic medical record (EMR), in terms of setup and content. The critical difference is that PHRs are only accessible to patients, who have the ability to update data and provide full medical history records and other information.

Resources that provide PHR information to U.S. consumers are maintained by groups like the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Health providers regularly study such groups to determine their impact on medical community. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also provides PHR data to consumers, in addition to vital information about the regulation of these records under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

HHS reports have noted that although PHRs are patient-controlled, HIPAA has some impact on what information may be provided to patients. HIPAA also links the PHR term with the term "protected health information" (PHI). Because a PHR may contain a great deal of PHI, a PHR often falls under specific HIPAA protections.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.