This Technical Report defines a personal health record (PHR). This definition is intended to help clarify the
kinds of records that should be called PHRs, in recognition of the lack of consistency in how this term is
presently used. This Technical Report considers the PHR from the perspective of the personal information
contained within it and the core services needed to manage this information.
A PHR is not a singular entity; the concept encompasses a spectrum of possible information repositories
and services that meet different purposes consistent with the definition. This Technical Report therefore also
discusses the scope of the PHR in terms of this spectrum as a series of dimensions by which a PHR may
be classified and equivalent PHR products compared. It also includes one dimension to classify the kinds of
collaborative care PHRs provided by healthcare organizations.
This Technical Report also considers the wider context of engagement of individuals in the management of
their own health and healthcare, since this engagement is the primary driver for present-day growth of PHR
systems and services internationally.
This Technical Report includes:
— a definition of a PHR;
— a pragmatic multidimensional classification of PHRs;
— an overview of the possible ways in which the inclusion and engagement of individuals in managing their
health and healthcare impacts on the potential roles of the PHR, including scenarios for collaborative care
between individuals and healthcare organizations.
The many kinds of end-user application that might be implemented and used to deliver PHR system functionality
are outside the scope of this Technical Report.