Project HealthDesign

Rethinking the Power and Potential of Personal Health

This article profiles the results of grantee projects from the first round of Project HealthDesign, a multiyear program sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California HealthCare Foundation. Project HealthDesign aims to stimulate innovation in personal health records. Nine sites nationwide participated in the program. Over the course of 30 months, each grantee designed and built a prototype of a personal health record to improve health for a wide range of populations and conditions. Each grantee built their personal health record on a common technological framework so that grantees could focus on the end user experience and interface.

Key Findings:

  • Personal health records are powerful tools to capture recorded observations of daily life, including personal thoughts, behaviors, beliefs and environmental conditions. These observations inform individuals about their health and help them decide when and how to take action about their health. Better capture of observations of daily life may provide substantial clinical value.
  • Project HealthDesign generated information about what kinds of technology are most helpful as individuals manage their daily health. For example, charts portraying health experiences over time were found useful, while text messages were often considered off-putting or irritating.

Project HealthDesign took place during a time of rapid change in health information technology. The program enabled grantees to look beyond the information technology underpinnings of personal heath records to focus on designs that captured the health observations of individuals. A second round of Project HealthDesign will examine how best to incorporate these observations of daily living into improved clinical care.

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