Perceptions of Electronic Personal Health Records and the Connection to Self-Care: Considerations for Design and Implementation Within a Multicultural Population

  • Helen Novak LauscherEmail author
  • Elizabeth Stacy
  • Jennifer Cordeiro
  • Kendall Ho
Part of the Healthcare Delivery in the Information Age book series (Healthcare Delivery Inform. Age)


Health consumers who are motivated and engaged in self-care are more effective users of health-care resources and are more likely to experience better health outcomes. For this to occur, health consumers require a mechanism to track their health record in order to empower them as effective and active participants in managing their health. To understand the impact of a personal health record (PHR) on one’s capacity to enable effective self-care, this study invited participants of a public health education forum to share their perspectives on PHRs, their personal health status, and their ability to make informed choices about their self-care. Uniquely, the public health education forum was held in Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese) and adapted to be culturally relevant for Chinese families living in British Columbia (BC). Forums were part of a larger educational campaign and focused on culturally relevant chronic disease management, providing participants with general education on the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. This study used mixed methods, incorporating data collection by means of surveys, focus groups, and interviews. Surveys were distributed to participants upon arrival at a public health education forum hosted by the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Faculty of Medicine eHealth Strategy Office. While respondents recognized the benefits of tracking their own health record, many had not yet made use of PHRs, and for those who did track their health, most used paper records. Analysis of data revealed that most of the participants were ready to learn how to set up their own electronic personal health record (ePHR), recognized the potential advantages and challenges associated with using an ePHR, and wanted to proceed with using an ePHR toward helping them in their own health management


Focus Group Community Member Personal Health British Columbia Personal Health Record 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to acknowledge funding support from the British Columbia Ministry of Health, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Lawson Foundation. iCON would not be possible without the support and dedicated work of our partners, community sponsors, volunteers, staff at the eHealth Strategy Office in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, and the entire iCON team. The authors acknowledge and greatly appreciate the contributions to this manuscript made by Anette Kinley, Researcher at the eHealth Strategy Office.

Declaration of interest: The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Novak Lauscher
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth Stacy
    • 1
  • Jennifer Cordeiro
    • 1
  • Kendall Ho
    • 2
  1. 1.eHealth Strategy OfficeUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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