Rural Personal Health Records Project

As patient citizens access disparate services from multiple providers, it can become increasingly difficult to access or manage one’s own medical information. This is especially true for rural patients who often access healthcare services virtually or in other communities. A personal health record (PHR) serves to enable patients to easily access and manage their medical records and to facilitate partnerships in care, while placing persons at the centre of their health journey. The Rural Personal Health Record (rPHR) Project aims to amplify the rural voice by

putting rural communities at the core of PHR development in British Columbia (BC). The rPHR Project is working in partnership with rural communities to support the implementation of a PHR, while advocating for their development within an open and standards-based framework. This will ensure rural patients and communities are better positioned to participate in their own healthcare stories. 

Our Achievements

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Launched community engagement process in Valemount

Supported by the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council (BCPS&QC), the rPHR Project conducted a robust ‘design lab’ community engagement process with the community of Valemount. This highlighted the community’s unique needs and brought together patients and providers, alike, to set PHR priorities for Valemount. On December 3, 2021, the Valemount Clinic initiated a PHR, becoming the first Northern Health Authority clinic to do so. Presently, the community is participating in an ‘Innovation Lab’, facilitated by the RCCbc. Working together, Valemount patients, providers, the Northern Health Authority, and the PHR vendor, Bright Health, are working collaboratively to continue developing the PHR in line with Valemount’s needs and priorities.  

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Fostered relationships with partners and other stakeholders

The rPHR Project has remained committed to working within the Pentagram Partnership Plus Framework. The project has focused on developing and fostering relationships with project stakeholders, including working directly with communities, health authorities, PHR vendors, Divisions of Family Practice, the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council, and patient and provider groups. 

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Developed a PHR roadmap

A technical PHR roadmap has been articulated to allow for PHR development within an open, standardsbased, and communitydriven framework. This can enable the free flow of information and the development of holistic, integrated, and interoperable solutions that facilitate teambased primary care.

Making a Difference

Since the launch of the rPHR project in 2020, Jess Rothenburger, who leads the initiative, has collaborated with numerous partners of the Rural Coordination Centre of BC to socialize and validate the need for, and value of, an integrated, holistic PHR for rural British Columbians.   

“We’re using innovative strategies and storytelling to focus our engagement with PHR vendors, policymakers, and health system partners,” explains Jess. “And through this engagement, we’ll align efforts and encourage partnerships to collectively advocate for an open, standards-based, community-driven development process for PHRs that prioritize rural, remote and indigenous communities’ needs.” 

Project partners, including the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council, have highlighted the positive implications that rural PHRs could have in our province. 

“Personal health records can be a game changer in the system going forward—it’s one of the greatest opportunities we have to improve quality,” says Christina Krause, Chief Executive Officer of the Council. “When we think about how we create a sustainable healthcare system that is high quality and built on the quadruple aim, the personal health record is core to that, and I don’t see us achieving that without personal health records in place.” 

Team Members

Dr. Anthon Meyer
Dr. Anthon Meyer
Dr. Nicole Ebert
Dr. Nicole Ebert
Jess Rothenburger

Jess Rothenburger

Project Manager

Brigitte Mettler
Brigitte Mettler

Informatics and Innovation Lead