Creating a Portable Health Record (PHR)
What is a portable health record?
A portable health record (PHR) is a way for you to make your own copy of your
health information. A PHR is helpful as it keeps your most important health
information in one place. It helps to make sure you get the safest health care
services you need, no matter where you are when you need them.
A PHR can come in many shapes and sizes. It can be kept on a piece of paper or in
an electronic format such as a flash drive, or a word document. Patients of UW
Health can find some of this information at “my chart”. You should choose a
format that works best for YOU. To start this process, hospital staff can help you
complete a paper copy while you are still in the hospital if you are interested.
What type of information should you include on your PHR?
This is not a complete list of information. You can choose what to have in your
PHR to best fit YOUR life. Here are some ideas.
Emergency contact information
Doctors who care for you on a regular basis
Hospital you prefer
o Insurance company
o Benefits information (Medicare or Medicaid)
o Prescribed by a doctor
o Bought at the store
o How much and when you take them
Functional status (that is, what activities you are able to do on your own or
o Vision and hearing
o Speech, swallowing, and eating
o How you move around (mobility).
o How you solve problems, remember things, and so on (cognition).
Medical equipment (for example, wheelchair or walker).
o What type of equipment do you have?
o Where did you get it?
o When did you last get it updated or fixed?
Prosthetic (artificial limb or body part) and orthotic (support device)
o Type of prosthetic or orthotic.
o Who made it for you?
o When did you last get it updated or fixed?
Risk factors (for example, high risk of falling)
Why is a portable health record so important?
Having a PHR means that every time you need to see a doctor or go to the
emergency room, your health information is at your fingertips. A PHR lowers the
risk of medical errors because doctors won’t have to guess how to treat you. Any
healthcare provider will be able to see your medical information with your
When you are away from home and need medical attention right away, you won’t
need to call your doctor to get your health information. If you are traveling or if
you are a college student going to school out-of-town, it is all right there on your
PHR! A PHR will set your mind at ease in an emergency because getting your
medical information from your doctor will be one less thing to worry about.
Having a PHR is helpful because it puts YOU in charge. It lets you become a
more active and independent member in your healthcare.
How do you make a portable health record?
First, choose a style that works best for you.
Would you like to carry a paper copy?
Would it be easier for you to carry a small flash drive or CD instead of a
notebook or folder?
Would you prefer to use the internet to make and update your PHR?
Would you like to have it as an “App” on your smart phone or device?
UW Health customers with “My Chart” can set-up a “Lucy” account
Second, get the materials:
Obtain your medical information from your health care providers
Lined notebook paper, folder(s), index card(s)
Flash drive or blank CD
Download your preferred “App” to your device
Find a website that helps you create a PHR. Some are free, but others
charge a monthly or yearly fee
Contact your health care provider to see if a PHR is available through your
electronic medical record. UW Health customers can contact:
Third, write down or enter your general medical information. See the previous
page for suggestions of information to include. You can use our template to guide
you, or create your own style that fits your life.
Once you have a portable health record, it is important to keep the information
current. Plan to update the data after each doctor appointment, especially the
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 9/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7126