Resolution on HIM Adoption of the Personal Health Record

Submitted by Missouri CSA: Marsha Dolan, MBA, RHIA, Stacie Durkin, MBA, RNC, RHIA, Daphne Terrill, MA, RHIA, Julie Wolter, MA, RHIA

Endorsed by the AHIMA Board of Directors and the PHR Practice Council


This resolution is intended to charge Health Information Management (HIM) professionals with the responsibility of creating and maintaining their own personal health record (PHR). HIM professionals are ideally suited through their education and professional capabilities to inform consumers and healthcare providers about the benefits of the PHR. They are leading the way and serving as role models in this effort.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) through its PHR workgroup developed a definition of a PHR in March, 2005.

" electronic, universally available, lifelong resource of health information needed by individuals to make health decisions. Individuals own and manage the information in the PHR, which comes from healthcare providers and the individual. The PHR is maintained in a secure and private environment, with the individual determining rights of access. The PHR is separate from and does not replace the legal record of any provider."

Personal health information is a valuable resource to individuals, their families, and the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who provide treatment and care. For example, in case of an emergency, having knowledge about a patient's allergies, medications or pre-existing conditions can save a life. Yet, even as advances are being made in development of electronic medical records systems, it is still almost universally the case that a complete record of any individual's personal health information cannot be found in any single location or consistent format. The various elements of any one person's health information are likely scattered across several healthcare providers, possibly in different cities, states, or even countries and are kept currently in various combinations of paper-based and electronic record-keeping formats.

This reality means that individuals need to recognize that they are the most effective source of their own complete medical history and that by managing their own health information they can help improve the quality of care they receive.

AHIMA Consumer Education Campaign launched in March, 2005, is a public service initiative that draws upon the unique expertise of AHIMA and its 51,000 members. This campaign has allowed Health Information Management (HIM) professionals to share their knowledge of health information and medical records directly with the public-at the community level-in order to help them better understand how to access, manage, and protect their personal health information.

Objectives of the campaign

  • To increase public awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding personal health information and health records.
  • To provide individuals with the information they need to better manage their personal health information and to encourage them to maintain a personal health record (PHR) in order to help improve the quality of care they receive.
  • To create greater public awareness of the HIM profession and the important role HIM professionals play in effective management of personal health information needed to deliver quality healthcare to the public

From the Community Education Campaign materials…..


Whereas, HIM professionals, through their education and professional capacity, have a unique perspective on the concept of the PHR

Whereas, HIM professionals have a long tradition of patient advocacy

Whereas, AHIMA currently has a Consumer Education Campaign in progress with most component state association's involvement

Whereas, HIM professionals are role models for proper documentation by their actions and their knowledge.

Whereas, a communication tool for consumers, the PHR offers the ability to interact and individualize decision support and problem solving with the care provider for the best optimal outcome.

Whereas, the PHR empowers consumers to take an active role in their own healthcare

Whereas, access to past and current patient health information is necessary to provide care

Whereas, documenting life time health status and risk assessments enhances the decision making process

Whereas, the PHR allows for the consumer to actively contribute to the coordination of multiple providers

Therefore, let it be:

Resolved, that all HIM professionals are charged with the responsibility of creating their own PHR in the format of their choosing and to the level of complexity with which they are most comfortable, but containing all of the elements outlined in the AHIMA/AMIA joint position statement for consumers of healthcare.

Resolved, that all HIM professionals are charged with the responsibility of ensuring all pertinent information from each healthcare encounter is properly documented and maintained in their PHR.

Resolved, that all HIM professionals are charged with the responsibility of remaining informed and knowledgeable about the current trends and continuous development of the PHR concept.

Last updated: Approved by the 2007-08 House of Delegates - September 24, 2007