A personal health record or PHR is a typical record where data related to the health and care guidelines of a patient is maintained for them either by themselves or by anyone else. However there is an electronic medical record also available which are maintained by the institutions. The main role of a PHR is to provide the accurate medical history of an individual. A PHR may contain a range of information about an individual, such as, allergies and drug reactions, family disease history, chronic disease, number of hospitalizations, x-ray reports, lab tests, prescription record, surgeries, vaccinations, ODLS, etc. which helps in the treatment of the concerned person in the future.There are several ways of maintaining a PHR. 

Some of the most convenient ways to maintain PHR are paper (the oldest method of maintaining PHR); where an individual can write his medical condition and other facts about his health on a paper kept safely, electronic devices (modern method introduced as a result of advancement of technology); there are personal computer based software available through which an individual may record the same, we applications; this is similar to electronic devices but more easily accessible on any computer that has an internet connection, there are other ways such as patient portals. There are many ways in which PHR can be beneficial to patients as well as medical experts. This provides a strong and accurate resource of the areas of treatment and also provides guidelines for the medical and other procedures.

There are several benefits of maintaining a PHR, such as, it helps patients access a range of health information, medical practices and health knowledge, all information about the medical condition is stored in one place. This also helps clinicians provide better treatment as all the information about the patients’ medical condition can be found all in one place. There are however several barriers such as limited education, access to computer or internet, especially in low income groups, all the above collectively may be called the digital divide. Functional limitations are also present.

Apart from all these benefits, there is also hesitancy due to a number of hacking and file thefts, hence a 100 percent confidence is hard to get. There might be other ways by which information about a patient may be revealed such as, medical personnel may misuse their access to patient information, there might be a leak of patient information by subordinates, there might be uncontrolled secondary usage and other outside intrusions which may range from hackers to former employees. 

There are however ways of alerting the concerned people if in case there is a breach by providing for alerts, reminders and also educating the users, there might be password protections used which is only accessible by the individual to whom the information belongs to, there are other software and antivirus that help prevent theft of information and illegal access of accounts which should be installed. This concern is beyond technological issues and there are ethical issues that are also affected.

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