Journal of Medical Systems

, 37:9990 | Cite as

Free Web-based Personal Health Records: An Analysis of Functionality

  • José Luis Fernández-AlemánEmail author
  • Carlos Luis Seva-Llor
  • Ambrosio Toval
  • Sofia Ouhbi
  • Luis Fernández-Luque
Original Paper


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.


Personal Health Records Review Functionality Patients 



This research is part of the PEGASO-PANGEA projects (TIN2009-13718-C02-02) financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Spain), and the GEODAS-REQ project (TIN2012-37493-C03-02) financed by both the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and European FEDER funds.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© European Union 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Luis Fernández-Alemán
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Carlos Luis Seva-Llor
    • 1
  • Ambrosio Toval
    • 1
  • Sofia Ouhbi
    • 1
  • Luis Fernández-Luque
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Informatics and Systems, Faculty of Computer ScienceUniversity of MurciaMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Northern Research InstituteTromsøNorway
  3. 3.Faculty of Computer ScienceCampus de Espinardo – University of MurciaMurciaSpain

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