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.
“We’re using innovative strategies and storytelling to focus our engagement with rPHR vendors, policymakers and health system partners. Through this engagement, we’ll align efforts and encourage partnerships to collectively advocate for an open, standards-based, community-driven development process for an rPHR that prioritizes the needs of rural, remote and Indigenous communities.”
Advanced the development of Personal Health Record solutions
The rPHR project is dedicated to advancing the development of PHR solutions that are both standards-based and provide patients with the necessary tools to manage their health effectively. To achieve this, the project has worked closely with various rural communities to integrate their specific priorities and needs into the myhealthkey (MHK) PHR development.
The project has enabled key features such as 3rd Party Authentication through the BC Services Card, allowing patients to easily register for both the MHK and Health Gateway, saving valuable time for MOA staff and ensuring a seamless registration process for patients.
Bi-Directional Messaging enables providers to communicate with their patients, and for patients to respond. This creates greater efficiencies in communication, reducing the need for in-person visits and promoting team-based care where patients are an integral part of the care team. The Cumulative Patient Summary and Plan will empower patients by providing them with a summary of their own health and care plan, accessible within the PHR. This gives patients greater agency to manage their own health while reducing the likelihood of errors.
Prioritized community and patient engagement
The rPHR project aims to develop a PHR that is a useful tool for rural patients and providers in British Columbia. To achieve this goal, the project prioritizes the participation of rural patients and providers in the PHR development process. Valemount was the first Northern Health Authority clinic to pilot a PHR and established the Valemount PHR Development Community Table, which brings together the Northern Health Authority, Bright Health, and Valemount providers and citizens to prioritize PHR development.
The rPHR project also coordinates the rPHR Patient Group, consisting of rural patients from across the province. This group advises the project on the rural patient perspective and creates communication resources to support rural communities with PHR adoption. An example of this work is the PSA-style video created to inform rural patients about the MHK PHR.
Partnered with key stakeholders on implementation and integration
The rPHR project advocates for developing accessible digital health solutions for rural patients. To achieve this, the project partners with key stakeholders to align with provincial priorities. A partnership with the Northern Health Authority has supported the implementation of the MHK PHR in Valemount and plans to roll out the solution in other northern rural communities.
The project has also partnered with the Ministry of Health’s Health Gateway Team to integrate data and functionalities between the MHK PHR and the Health Gateway. Currently, patient authentication is being streamlined, allowing patients to use their BC Services Card to register for both the Gateway and the PHR. The rPHR project is represented on the Provincial Patient Empowerment Working Group and the Health Gateway Advisory Committee, advocating for the needs of rural communities in the development of digital health solutions.
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5 + Videos
The rPHR project has created a series of community-facing videos in collaboration with its patient group and community partners. These videos aim to encourage citizens of Valemount to register for and use their 'myhealthkey' PHR.
Plans for the Future
The rPHR project will remain committed to supporting rural patients and providers by promoting open standards based PHR development. The goal is to enable patients, foster team-based care, and enhance provider workflows. To achieve this, the project will provide the necessary assistance to community partners and clinics for the adoption and use of the PHR. It will also align with regional and provincial priorities to support a coordinated digital health ecosystem.