What Is a Personal Health Record?

A personal health record is a documentation of your medical history and care. Although health care providers routinely keep such medical records, you can create your own record, and records for other family members.

Having copies of important test and screening results can save you money and time if you change doctors, and you can easily share records across health care providers and systems.

You can compile your medical record on paper or your computer, or via Internet-based services on which you can store and retrieve your health information.

To get started on your record, request copies of your medical records from all of your health care providers.

What to include

Include these in your record:

  • Personal identification, including name and birth date

  • Family members to contact in case of emergency

  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of your personal care doctor and any specialists

  • Health insurance information

  • A list of current medications and dosages, as well as details regarding any supplements or herbal remedies you take

  • Immunization dates

  • Allergies or sensitivities to drugs or materials, such as latex

  • Important events, dates, and hereditary conditions in your family history

  • Dates of significant illnesses and surgical procedures

  • Important test results

  • Family history listing the health status of immediate family members and the causes of death for deceased members

  • Living wills, advance directive, or medical power of attorney

  • Organ donor authorization

Bring your record to all doctor visits so you can remember to update it.