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Different Personal Health Records. Comparison. Coursework

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Updated: Sep 27th, 2021


Personal health records are important for individuals, caregivers and healthcare professionals. On a national level, these records should serve as a part of the National Health Information public services systems. Available websites providing PHR services are developing and variable. The researcher compared three different websites (CapMed, myhealth123.net, and Microsoft health Vault), and concluded that CapMed is most likely to be the easiest, most satisfying to a healthcare consumer.


There is a notable increase in the pursuit of imposing personal health records systems for patients and other healthcare consumers. However, the literature does not provide satisfactory description for the possible capacity and efficacy of personal health records (PHR). Further, the lack of displaying the potential widespread use holds back its acceptance (Tang and others, 2006).

The Administration, Congress, Health institutions, and private health insurance companies embarked on many proposals to support carrying out electronic health records. Stevens (2007) defines an electronic personal health record is a database of medical data gathered and kept in a working order by an individual patient. This should serve as a part of the National Health Information public services systems; however, patients caring for the privacy of their health information and privacy supporters raise controversies about security and privacy of information (Stevens, 2007).

Lecker and others (2007) examined the question of privacy and security in electronic personal health records. They defined privacy as a person’s right to getting hold of, use, or revelation of one’s identifiable health data, in other words, it is an individual right that if severed results in abuse. Confidentiality means the commitment to respect privacy by those who receive the information, in this sense it can be dealt with under business contract (purchase or selling).

Security is the technological administrative procedures for information privacy protection of data from illegal disclosure, thus it needs authorization from the person to reveale. The authors inferred there is wide variation among public privacy policies in understanding and imposing. They observed that some personal health record service web sites providers have no declared privacy policy (Lecker and others, 2007).

The aim of this essay is to provide a comparison of three different PHR web sites.

Method of comparison

Two PHR websites were chosen (out of three provided by the essay supervisor) and a third PHR was searched for. Criteria used for comparison are provided by The American Health Information Management Association: Recommendations to Assure Privacy and Quality of Personal Health Information on the Internet (retrieved on 15/09/2008, from http://www.ahima.org/infocenter/guidelines/tenets.asp).

  1. Inclusion of a notice of information practices; privacy policy, and security policy.
  2. Whether the site contains active and suitable links to other health information resources.
  3. The date or dates a piece of data is first input and then updated is recorded.
  4. Whether the consumer can print the personal health record.
  5. Identification of the business owner or provider of the PHR website.
  6. Does the site provide clear instructions for navigating the PHR?
  7. Does the site provide support with interpreting any medical abbreviations used within the PHR?
  8. Does the site provide customer support contact information?
  9. General comments and grading.

The websites selected for comparison are:

  1. CapMed at <http://www.capmed.com>
  2. MyHealth123.NET at <http://www.myhealth123.net>
  3. Microsoft Health Vault at <http://www.healthvault.com>


Comparison of the three different sites is done in a table form. Grading is in A, B… according to the following: (A = excellent, B = good, C = fair, F = fails) for each website on each evaluative criterion provided within the table.

Criterion PHR
Observations and Comments
Site includes a notice of information practices; privacy policy, security policy, etc. YES, (A).Information given is adequate. YES, (B). If the software is purchased through Yahoo shopping, Yahoo automatically collects order information. YES, (A).
Separate privacy and security policies
Health Vault is the only site to provide separate privacy and security policies.
Site contains active and appropriate links to other health information resources YES, (A).
In clients, partners, and News and events links.
NO (F).The site is devoted to selling either software (PoviderSmart, or RecordSmart). YES, (A).
Adequate links for devices and web directories for health and fitness.
The date(s) a piece of data is first input and then updated is recorded YES, (A).In all forms (personal health Key, personal health record and online PHR). Can not tell (C). there is no statement about this in search directory, no demo download or demo tour. It says: Print your own up-to-date Personal Health Record when traveling or visiting a new doctor. So presumably such an option is available, YES, (A).
A file is marked read only if Health Vault Administrators notice a suspicious activity.
Consumer can print their personal health record YES, (A). In all forms and applications. YES (A). In addition, printing an emergency card is available. YES, (A). Working within windows platform. Health Vault is the only site with no emergency card print.
The business owner/provider of the PHR website is identified YES, (A). Sufficient details are available in the contact us section. Partly, (C).The business is identified as a part of BioMedical Research Laboratories that sells individual PHR software and health provider software. NO, (B).Microsoft is a well known brand name, yet the owner provides proper information on associated web and device partners.
Site provides clear instructions for navigating the PHR YES, (A). In a downloadable PDF file and in the help menu. NO (F). The site presents the software. No demo tour, download or slide show. YES, (A).The site design is simple and easy to work within. As a store house, it is not expected to provide particular instructions to navigate a PHR. myhealth123.net is the only site that provides no clear instructions for navigation the PHR.
Site provides assistance with interpreting any medical abbreviations used within the PHR Partly, (B).Through the maintenance menu. Such abbreviations are incomplete and necessitate going with the form to the medical visit. YES, (A). The software (RecordSmart) provides standardized drop down for drugs and diseases. In addition to a database of medical articles. NO, (F).The way it looks, the site is intended to be a store house for medical records created by subscriber or other web directories including CapMed.
Site provides customer support contact information. YES, (A).E- Mail, telephone, address of correspondence, and FAQ section. YES, (A). Email, fax, telephone and address. No FAQ or help section. NO, (F). Again, the site relays on Microsoft brand name, and the availability of logging in using a windows live ID. Health Vault is the only site with no contact details.
General Comments
  1. Available in many formats (online, mobile, desktop).
  2. Many approaches for data entry (caregivers, professional healthcare, athletes, personal and for family).
  3. Available in three applications (personal health key, record, and online).
  4. Emergency Card choice is available.
  5. Setting reminders for important health related activities is also available.
  6. Availability of graph and trend health data recording.
  7. Attaching medical files (lab, medical imaging, operations reports…) is available.
  8. Links to relevant health education content are available.
  9. Data back up and restore are available.
  10. A demo tour is available to present the software.
  1. The web site is hosted by Yahoo store. Yahoo automatically collects order information (if done through yahoo shopping) which casts a shadow on privacy.
  2. Although all family members can have one record, yet a family member or the emergency contact person can override the various passwords and retrieve other’s medical information.
  3. The site is defective in providing a demo slide show or tour to present the software. Also no links to relevant health education nor there are links to other healthcare websites.

* Advantages:

  1. It has a built in database of >2300 medical articles.
  2. It has 2 preventive modules in addition to 7 health status modules and a special care module for chronic diseases as diabetes, hypertension, heart and liver diseases.
  3. Contains a health diary through which one can track medical visits appointments.
  1. It allows file sharing.
  2. It is a Beta.
  3. The record can be marked read only, or even suspended if Health Vault Administrators notice a suspicious activity.

2 and 3 indicate that there is a foreign overlook on the record which may be considered as a breach of privacy.

  1. Can be connected to health measuring devices as blood pressure monitors, oximeters and blood glucose monitors.
  2. Contains live health search box.
  3. Can work with other websites software (as CapMed). Or as a store house for online records of other PHR providers.


Personal health records system is still developing and diverse. One of the factors contributing to its heterogeneity is the lack of a uniform agreed-upon definition for a personal health record. From the comparison made in this essay, it appears that MedCap PHR system can be the most convenient from the viewpoint of a healthcare consumer.


Tang, P.C, Ash, J.S, Bates, D.W, Overhage, J.M, and Sands, D.Z (2006). Personal health records: definitions, benefits, and strategies for overcoming barriers to adoption. J Am Med Inform Assoc., 13(2), 121-126.

Stevens, G.M (2007). CRS Report for Congress: Electronic Personal Health Records. Web.

Lecker, R, Armijo, D, Chin, S et al (2007). Review of the Personal Health Record (PHR) Service Provider Market: privacy and Security. Web.

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