The Surgeon General’s “My Family Health Portrait” is an internet-based tool that makes it easy for you to record your family health history. The tool is easy to access on the web and simple to fill out. It assembles your information and makes a “pedigree” family tree that you can download. It is private–it does not keep your information. It gives you a health history that you can share with family members or send to your health care practitioner.
Your family health history can help your health care practitioner provide better care for you. It can help identify whether you have higher risk for some diseases. It can help your health care practitioner recommend actions for reducing your personal risk of disease. And it can help in looking for early warning signs of disease.
The Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait tool does NOT keep a government record of the information you fill in nor make your health information available to anyone else but you. It only provides the software for organizing your information. By accessing the tool on the web, you make use of that software. But the information you fill in is never available to anyone else, unless you choose to share or disclose it. After you fill in your information, it is available only to you for downloading. After that, it’s up to you whether you want to share the information with other family members or provide it to your health care practitioner.