Nurses’ Role in Patient Education on Health Records


A personal health record (PHR) is an assortment of information regarding an individual’s health that includes care strategies, treatments, lab results, screening dates, diagnosis, immunization records, and health history from various sources. It contains tools that allow individuals to play an active part in the improvement of their health and well-being. PHRs are important because they improve the practice of care management by patients. Patients need to receive education on how to record and secure health information. Individuals need instruction on how to manage the data for easy dissemination and application. The integration and management of health information require the use of standardized tools and technology. Therefore, the adequate training of patients by qualified healthcare professionals is necessary.

The Role of Nurses

Nurses play a vital role in the education of patients regarding the importance of personal health records and their application in health improvement. Training should cover topics such as security protocols, privacy, PHR design and maintenance, and the integration with electronic health records (Rinaldi, 2017). One of the most important aspect of a PHR is the consumer’s ability to understand and process health information. Therefore, it is the nurse’s responsibility to educate patients on the basics of the language that physicians use. In addition, the PHR cannot be personalized to each individual. Therefore, a general format is used. The nurse should ensure that the patient understands all the aspects of the PHR system, especially its navigation and how to secure data (Rinaldi, 2017). For instance, nurses should show patients how to access information on certain medical concepts or words that they do not understand.

The needs of patients and healthcare professionals regarding health information are different. To avoid the recording of unnecessary data, nurses should teach patients about the type of information that their records should contain (Rinaldi, 2017). This could include instructions on how to organize data properly, as well as its management. Nurses also play a key role in influencing patients’ decisions regarding the design of a PHR system. The design chosen must cater to the needs of both patients and healthcare professionals. In that regard, nurses should offer information on the importance of choosing a design that makes information easy to understand and apply in improving one’s health.

Certain aspects of a PHR could be complicated and can only be completed through extensive training. For example, interfacing monitoring devices with an electronic record could be difficult for many patients (Alexander et al., 2019). Therefore, nurses should offer instructions on all system processes, the type of information to collect and include in a PHR, and how to apply data to attain better health outcomes. The actions that patients take as a result of using their health records depend on the level of training that they receive (Alexander et al., 2019). Nurses should educate patients on appropriate types of data to include in a PHR and how to annex various forms of information from different sources.


A personal health record is a powerful tool that can be used to manage one’s health. It comprises information regarding a patient’s health, such as immunization dates, medications administered, and lab results. Nurses should educate patients about the type of information to record, how to choose an appropriate design, how to take actions based on the data collected, and how to manage the information so that it is secure, and easy to access and comprehend. The adoption of PHRs by patients depends primarily on the education that nurses give regarding their importance in health improvement.


Alexander, S., Frith, K. H., & Hoy, H. (Eds.). (2019). Applied clinical informatics for nurses (2nd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Rinaldi, G. (2017). New perspectives in medical records: Meeting the needs of patients and practitioners. Springer International Publishing.

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