Article Series

PHRs and EHRs Are Not the Same Things

Article submitted by Rebecca Sharp Colmer: Eldercare Advocate, Author, Publisher, Speaker. Find Rebecca’s books online.
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Personal Health Records (PHRs) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Are Not the Same Things

A personal health record (PHR) is a health record that is initiated and maintained by an individual. Typically it would provide a complete summary of the health and medical history of a person by gathering data from multiple sources and making this information accessible online to approved individuals.

There are many benefits to keeping personal health records. Some of them include:

  • The more you know about your health, the more control you have in staying healthier.
  • The more health-related information you share with healthcare providers, the better care you will receive.
  • Managing your medical information improves your overall well-being and quality of health.

An electronic health record (EHR) is built to share information with other health care providers, such as laboratories and specialists. EHRs contain information from all the clinicians involved in the patient’s care and authorized clinicians can access the information they need, to provide care to that patient. Electronic health records (EHRs) require special software designed for use by healthcare providers. The information in electronic health records are legally mandated notes on the care provided by clinicians to patients.

An electronic medical record (EMR) is a digital version of the paper charts in a doctor’s office. They contain primarily the notes and information collected by and for the clinicians in that office.

Posted March 2013 on