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Orthop Nurs. 2007 May-Jun;26(3):185-91; quiz 192-3.

Personal health record: new opportunity for patient education.

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Level IV Clinical Nurse, Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.


The personal health record (PHR) allows individuals to keep track of their health care information in one location. Maintaining a PHR encourages increased personal participation in healthcare and fosters a greater emphasis on communication between the individual and the caregivers. The creation of a PHR provides the opportunity for health professionals to educate patients about personal health matters and presents a tool for enhancing health literacy. As patients become more adept at communicating with their caregivers and recording important health information, the ability to participate in decision making is enhanced. Assessment of health literacy and functional ability allows the PHR to be adapted to accommodate the needs of the individual. Identification of family members or other significant individuals early on is essential, and education efforts should begin promptly. This article provides information on the benefits of a PHR. Considerations for health literacy and ability to maintain a PHR are discussed, and examples of using a transdisciplinary approach to development and implementation of a PHR are examined. With proper design and education, the PHR allows individuals to participate more fully in their own healthcare.

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