Technology Advances Personal Health Management

PHRs allow real-time access anywhere.

by Lynn Wilson, Founder of The CareGiver Partnership

Personal health records allow families, caregivers, and health care providers to access an individual’s history, emergency information and more. These tools help seniors take charge of their own health and help families better care for loved ones.

A personal health record (PHR), an electronic collection of medical information, makes a patient’s history accessible at any time from a Web-enabled device, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone. Separate from electronic health records or electronic medical records — which are owned by hospitals, doctors’ offices or health insurance plans — PHRs help family caregivers gather and manage their information in one easily accessible location.

The benefits of having a PHR include quick access to vital information during an emergency, being better prepared to ask questions at a doctor visit, tools to track progress, and a means to organize appointments and screenings. It also allows family members to have real-time access to the latest care of a loved one, even if they live far away.

Each individual decides which information to include in a PHR. According to the Mayo Clinic, the basics may include a primary care physician’s contact information, medications and dosages, allergies, chronic health problems, dates of major surgeries, and a living will or advance directives. Examples of preventive care that a patient may choose to add to his or her PHR include screening results, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diet and exercise habits, and health goals.

With the continuous growth of PHR service offerings, prospective users should research the options and compare how each may meet their unique needs. Here are some examples: 
  • OnPulse is a service that allows users to communicate privately with providers, form care teams based on a diagnosis or condition, and track when information is viewed. OnPulse users also can communicate with loved ones online and access tips, lists of providers and other educational resources.
  • Those who prioritize privacy and security might consider Minerva Health Manager. It lets users securely store their health records on their home computers rather than on the Internet, then access them from mobile phones and other devices via flash drive and viewer tools. The Minerva PHR Viewer works with iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
  • Caregivers Touch is an option that lets users organize data, then store and access it via an iPhone application. Caregivers Touch users can set up individual profiles for sharing information. For example, a user might share a calendar of appointments with a nearby family member and a contact list with a friend who lives elsewhere.

Contact our team of Product Specialists for personalized help with products and services for seniors and caregivers.

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their
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loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wis. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353. Help support this ad-free blog by answering several questions about caregiving here. It will take just two minutes.


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