Being prepared with a personal health record (PHR) can offer you and your family greater security, peace of mind, and many other benefits during an emergency situation, such as a hurricane. A PHR can serve as a convenient medical resource at any time.
A PHR is any organized system you maintain for documenting personal information, health conditions, medicines, health care providers, medical procedures, medical test results, and special needs. There are free forms available as well as other products for purchase that can help you create a PHR for yourself and your family. There are two basic types of PHRs; paper documents and files that are best maintained in waterproof and portable containers, and electronic PHRs.
You can create your own personal health record by listing the information on paper or using your computer. The PHR checklist is designed to help you identify and keep track of important health-related information. You can use this list to collect health records for yourself and your family. Florida law allows you to obtain copies of all of your medical records from every physician who treats you. By using this PHR checklist, you can ensure that you have a complete record of your and your family's health history. Click here to view, download, and/or print out the Personal Health Record Check List. (PDF 68KB)
An electronic PHR system stores your information on a secure Internet web site where you set up a password to prevent unauthorized access to your information. You type in information on the form provided and print as needed. In some cases, the PHR system may contain data from your health plan or doctor. Your Internet PHR would be available to you if you have access to the Internet, wherever you are relocated in an emergency. Check to be sure that the PHR system gives you the ability to copy your record to another device so you can carry it with you, in case of an emergency or for other purposes.
It is important that you read and understand the privacy policies of the PHR you are using on the Internet. You want to be sure that your information cannot be retrieved or used by any person or organization you do not want to have access to it. You also need to understand exactly what happens to your information if you decide to close your account. You should maintain legal ownership of your information. Ask whether you will be notified of any changes in privacy policies and review any changes you do receive.
Electronic PHRs are a great tool for disaster planning. They store your health information for easy access in case of emergencies like tropical storms or other events that can cause loss of power and/or the need for relocation. Click here to view, download, or print out the Tips for using Personal Health Records for Hurricane and Other Disaster Preparation (PDF 27KB).