How secure are my online personal health records?

Some websites offer a place to store your health records online. These are often called "personal health records." Some personal health records are offered by health care providers and health plans and are covered by the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules. Other personal health records (PHRs) are offered by stand-alone companies and are not covered by HIPAA. Some PHR companies display a model privacy policy notice, which is like a nutrition facts label, that outlines their privacy practices.  The companies that display this notice must follow the Federal Trade Commission's Health Breach Notification Rule and notify you if there is a breach of your information.

Your online personal health records (PHR) are as secure as you make them. You decide who can see your records by creating permissions and secure passwords for your records.

Another key way to safeguard your PHR has to do with where you store it. First and foremost, make sure that the web site maintaining your records is a secure one. If you use a PHR from your health plan or health care provider, they must tell you how they keep your information safe and private.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.