Prototyping Next-generation PHRs

Project HealthDesign is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program to push the design of next-generation personal health records. Nine design teams received grants to develop forward-looking PHR prototypes that meet unique needs of different patient populations. The prototypes were demonstrated two weeks ago—RWJF has posted a webcast.

RWJF launched the $5-million national program to explore the “purpose and potential of electronic PHRs” and “move the perception of PHRs from static repositories of health information to dynamic, tailored applications that allow people to easily and actively manage their health as they go about their daily lives,” according to the Project HealthDesign web site.

Over the next several months, the design teams will publish details about their work, as well as extend the use of their applications to the clinical practices connected to their institutions.

User-centered design plays a large role in developing patient-centric products like the Project HealthDesign prototypes. “The ability of PHRs to truly meet the needs of individuals depends in part on how well product designers attend to the needs and wants of the users and how extensively they engage users in PHR design and testing,” wrote Margarita Morales Rodriguez and coauthors in an April 2007 journal article “Patient-centered Design.”

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