Why is this project important?


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Managing personal health information is important for healthy aging.

Without fully accessing and understanding personal health information, people can't actively manage their health and make informed decisions about their care. In the past, personal health information stayed within the context of clinical visits or appointments. Now, many people manage their health information in the home, but may lack information or documentation needed to fully understand their situation and make decisions about their care to promote healthy aging.


Older adults face disproportionate health challenges and burden of health information.

The segment of Americans over 65 is 18% and growing. Within this age group, managing health information is particularly hard during multiple provider visits as well as many different treatment plans and medications as they face an increasing number of conditions. Consequently, the burden of health information management disproportionately affects older adults.


Tools that can support personal health information management (PHIM) are generally not designed with older adults in mind.

While health information technologies, such as personal health records, are being developed to allow patients greater information transparency and engagement in their care, these technologies may present challenges for older adults. We need to better understand older adults' personal health information needs and practices in order to design health information technologies that will be used by older adults.


To inform the development of supportive tools, we need a deeper understanding of the PHIM needs & practices of older adults.

How older adults manage their health information can vary depending on their current needs and living situation. Furthermore, other people may be involved in managing their health or health information, such as family, friends and others. Thus, in order to fully understand how older adults manage their health information, we need to understand how management is done across different circumstances and different stakeholders.