Free web-based personal health records: An analysis of functionality

José Luis Fernández-Alemán, Carlos Luis Seva-Llor, Ambrosio Toval, Sofia Ouhbi, Luis Fernández-Luque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyzes and assesses the functionality of free Web-based PHRs as regards health information, user actions and connection with other tools. A systematic literature review in Medline, ACM Digital Library, IEEE Digital Library and ScienceDirect was used to select 19 free Web-based PHRs from the 47 PHRs identified. The results show that none of the PHRs selected met 100 % of the 28 functions presented in this paper. Two free Web-based PHRs target a particular public. Around 90 % of the PHRs identified allow users throughout the world to create their own profiles without any geographical restrictions. Only half of the PHRs selected provide physicians with user actions. Few PHRs can connect with other tools. There was considerable variability in the types of data included in free Web-based PHRs. Functionality may have implications for PHR use and adoption, particularly as regards patients with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Support for standard medical document formats and protocols are required to enable data to be exchanged with other stakeholders in the health care domain. The results of our study may assist users in selecting the PHR that best fits their needs, since no significant connection exists between the number of functions of the PHRs identified and their popularity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9990
JournalJournal of Medical Systems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Functionality
  • Patients
  • Personal Health Records
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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