Understanding the Meaning and Value of Patient-reported Data using Personal Health Records within a Primary Care Network in Rural BC

Project Summary

Personal Health Records (PHR) are computer-based tools in which patients can keep a record of information about their health. This information or patient-reported data includes medications, blood pressure readings, exercise activities, and family health history. Some PHRs allow a patient to connect to their primary care provider usually a doctor or nurse practitioner and, in this way, they can manage appointments, view test results, and even communicate with their provider via videoconference, texting, or email.


The COVID-19 pandemic has made the use of these remote, or virtual, options for receiving care even more important. However, PHRs are not yet widely used and our understanding of their potential, their problems, and how to get the most value from them is limited. To explore these questions, we are conducting a two-phase study:

  1. In Phase 1, we will hold focus groups to understand what PHRs mean to patients and providers, and what features of a PHR system would be most useful.
  2. In Phase 2, we will ask patients and their health care providers to use a PHR system, so that we could explore the value of the patient-reported data shared in this way.


We particularly want to understand the benefits and problems of sharing health information for both the patients and their providers. We are including patients as partners in helping us plan and perform all aspects of this research.

This project is part of the Data Science and Health Informatics Cluster.

Project Lead

Kathy Rush
Douglas Kingford

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