A Review of PHR, EMR and HER Integration: A More Personalized Health Care and Public

A review of PHR, EMR and EHR integration: a more personalized health care and public health policy

Summary by: Tsipi Heart, Ofir Ben-Assuli, and Itamar Shabtai.

This article reviews the benefits of integrating EHR, EMR, and PHR systems in the health care sector. It highlights the use of each system with the objective being to improve healthcare. For example, PHR enables patients to engage with their physicians through an online basis. Furthermore, the article also highlights the challenges that these electronics systems face.

EMR contain patient information in care delivery that is produced by various encounters. Information in these electronic records include: progress notes, patient demographics, medications, radiology reports, immunization, laboratory data, medical history, and vital signs (Heart, Ben-Assuli, & Shabtai, 2016). In addition, patient charts, portals, communication system, decision supports mechanisms and statistics should be integrated in EMRs. This system has helped in the identification of illnesses and diseases by physicians based on patient characterization and symptoms. Care has improved through medical history available in EMR databases. As such, clinicians can monitor drug consumption, care patterns, and disease onset among others.

EHR provides clinical care by enabling healthcare providers to access medical data across many sites. It is often interchanged with EMR since they basically serve almost similar purposes. However, EHR data is shared across providers whereas EMR stores medical data in institutional databases (Heart, Ben-Assuli, & Shabtai, 2016). As such, EHR provides interoperability among care providers leading to improved and continuous care. On the other hand, PHR contain patients’ medical information and charts that are accessible online. This means that patients maintain these records by themselves making them able to keep an eye on their well being (Garvin, Odom-Wesley, Rudman, & Stewart, 2009). They are able to view prescriptions, test results, personal information, and medical history among others. Additionally, PHRs enhances self management, communication, and lifestyle among patients. Based on the above advantages, integrating all these systems is of benefit to care providers, policy makers and patients. This is because health records, demographics, behavioral data, and lifestyle are combined to provide a more centered and comprehensive patient care.

Significant challenges facing EHR, EMR, and PHR integration  

The main problem facing these systems is concerned with information security. Patient data are sensitive and needs privacy and confidentiality (Heart, Ben-Assuli, & Shabtai, 2016). With unlimited record access, issues such as prejudice and embarrassment may occur considering issues such as abortions, sexual behavior, and mental problems. Interoperability also constitutes a significant challenge. Considering the fact that each system operate under different technologies, similar data may vary in terms of labeling, schemas, and models. As such, these challenges should be addressed in order ethical and improved care. Generally, integration provides comprehensive ways of improving wellness despite the challenges that exist.

Take home message

Information technology is definitely changing every sector and should be embraced. This article provides insightful informational that may change the perception of individuals regarding their health. For example, PHRs enables people to manage themselves. This is possible based on technological gadgets such as ipads, smart-phones, and tablets that are internet enabled.



Garvin, J., Odom-Wesley, B., Rudman, W.J., & Stewart, R.S. (2009). Healthcare Disparities and the Role of Personal Health Records. Retrieved from http://library.ahima.org/doc?oid=91677#.WNT3oE9o21s.

Heart, T., Ben-Assuli, O., & Shabtai, I. (2016). A review of PHR, EMR and EHR integration: a more personalized health care and public health policy. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hlpt.2016.08.002