Personal health records: A guide for healthcare professionals

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As a healthcare professional, you may want to know how your patients can stay well when they leave your GP practice. Once they walk out the appointment, patients become responsible for staying healthy outside of primary care. With that responsibility, patients are expected to know more about their health and to participate more actively in their own care.

Too often, it may be the case that patients are feeling ‘in the dark’ about their health conditions, about what health options are available to them, or what will happen to them. So, what tools are available to help people take more ownership of their health? We look at how personal health records can help do this.

Owning your own health

An Evergreen Life user, Paul Zickel, urges that “the culture needs to change around ownership, access to and engagement with your own health information.” We’re also believers in people owning their own health and health information. CEO and founder of Evergreen Life, Stephen Critchlow adds that “we want ‘people powered health,’ meaning that every person using our PHR can prevent disease before they become patients, as well as getting the best service from the NHS if they do. We’re the only app linked to all three GP systems in the country and it also allows people to create a health and wellbeing record themselves.”

What is a personal health record?

A tool that can help patients take more responsibility of their health information is called a personal health record, or ‘PHR.’ A PHR empowers your patients to always be in control, being able to add to and have access to their GP-held medical record wherever they are and whenever they want. They can also share this information with others quickly and easily when it’s needed.

A PHR helps to join up your patients’ health information so it’s all kept in one place. Many patients are experiencing the frustration of going from surgery to hospital to GP practice and having to tell their story over and over again, as their health information doesn’t exist anywhere in its entirety. Do you often ask your patients to:

  • Recall parts of their medical history from memory?
  • Remember when they were diagnosed with a condition or started taking a certain medication?
  • Say how long a symptom has been occurring?

Having all a patient’s health information to hand in their PHR app can help answer all these questions – improving efficiency in how you use patient information to diagnose and treat people.

What is the difference between a PHR and an EHR?

  • An electronic health record or ‘EHR,’ contains information that’s typically entered and accessed by healthcare providers. It might just hold information only from one source or GP practice.
  • Truly personal, a PHR is controlled by the individual and can include health information from a range of sources – that might be any health care professionals as well as the patients themselves.

What information is stored in a PHR?

A personal health record is a collection of information pertinent to a patient’s health. A PHR may include:

  • Conditions
  • Medications diary and history
  • Allergies
  • Vaccination history
  • Test results
  • Body measurements
  • Documents & Letters

How can an Evergreen Life PHR help your patients manage their care?

Having important health information stored in one place can help people feel more in control of their own health and conditions, as they’re managing everything more proactively rather than the responsibility lying with the health provider. As Evergreen Life is also an NHS-assured provider of GP online services, patients can have all information related to their health within their PHR app.


PHRs also help with:

  1. Condition management

    Patients who have one or more chronic conditions like diabetes may use a PHR monitor and record symptoms, test results (such as blood pressure or blood sugar readings) and medications. PHRs can help them track lab results, which may motivate them to adhere to your treatment plan.

  2. Up-to-date and coordinated records

    Your patients can tell you what treatment they’ve had outside of primary care, whether they’re taking unprescribed medications or not taking what you’ve prescribed – so they have the most accurate medications record possible. This keeps everyone well-informed to facilitate mutual health care decision-making.
  3. Emergency care or while travelling

    PHRs can give you valuable information about a patient’s health in case of an emergency or if they need urgent care while travelling.
  4. Sharing is caring

    People who manage health care for someone else (including family members) may want help to keep track of appointments, medications and vaccinations. This is possible by granting trusted access to a patient’s PHR.
  5. Better doctor-patient communication

    Send targeted messages to your patients securely for communicating non-urgent information, including flu clinic appointments and updates on chronic conditions.

Let us help you!

Evergreen Life can help educate your practice staff, GPs and patients on how patients can start using a PHR to manage their health and use GP online services. Why not take a look at our practice resources to help get you started?


Written by
Evergreen Life

Article updated:
October 30, 2018
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