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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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Personal Health Record Promotes Patient Engagement


As part of the 2014 Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT), Indian Health Service is creating a personal health record (PHR) that will assist patients in accessing some of their medical information via a web browser at home or on a mobile device. By using the PHR, which is a secure portal, patients will be able to view, download, and transmit demographic information, medications, lab results, problems, vital signs, immunizations, and other visit-related information. Clearly, the PHR will help address one of the major focal points of MU by encouraging patient engagement.

"Measuring" up the PHR

Although the PHR will impact a number of MU measures in 2014, the measures directly related to the PHR are listed below.

Patient Electronic Access

  • More than 50 percent of all unique patients during the EHR reporting period are provided timely (available to the patient within four business days after the information is available to the EP or within 36 hours of discharge for an EH) online access to their health information.
  • More than five percent of all unique patients seen by the EP during the EHR reporting period or who are discharged from the inpatient or emergency department (POS 21 or 23) of an eligible hospital or CAH (or their authorized representatives) view, download, or transmit to a third party their health information.

Secure Electronic Messaging

A secure message was sent using the electronic messaging function of CEHRT by more than five percent of unique patients (or their authorized representatives) seen by the EP during the EHR reporting period.

Accessing the PHR

To use the PHR, the patient must first set up a PHR account by creating a username and password and entering some information. Once the account has been established, the patient will be prompted to validate his or her identity at the clinic or hospital. To assist with this process, a PHR registrar at each health care facility will validate the patient’s identity and link his or her PHR and medical record accounts using a PHR administrative application. Because the PHR also interfaces with the Master Patient Index (MPI), the PHR registrar can link the patient with multiple RPMS EHR accounts. Once the PHR and RPMS EHR accounts are linked, patients are able to view their health information online. If the patient receives care in more than one place, he or she can see information from each place with the same PHR account.

The information available to patients comes from the Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture (CCDA) which is used by the Health Information Exchange (see HIE article). Since the CCDA is updated with changes at least every 24 hours, patients are assured timely access to their most recent medical record information. However, not all information in the patient’s medical record will be available. A small set of highly sensitive data will not be provided to patients through the PHR in accordance with federal and state laws.

In addition to permitting patients to view their health information, the PHR will allow patients to interact with their health care team through secure email messages.

Learn how to prepare for the PHR by reading this related article.