Dear Janie,

I recently became a widow and I am now raising children alone in a digital world. My whole professional life revolves around the computer skills I’ve developed over the past 20 years. Now, I use those skills in my personal life too. My children and I use computers and cell phones for everything too: work, school, play. Even our church uses Facebook and text messaging to communicate these days. I wish I had a way to help me raise my children to know more about how to use a computer to support healthy living and health decision-making. I’d like a “personal health system” that integrates into the way my family operates, how we live, how we learn, and how we use information to make day-to-day decisions. My kids are going to live in a world where technology is used more and more for their health and care. I’m trying to raise my children to be prepared for the future. How can using a PHR help us improve our health literacy and develop health technology skills as part of our normal routine?



Dear Clare,

Please accept my condolences for your recent loss. It sounds like your family is already pretty good at using information technology (IT) for communication in day-to-day life. It should be easy for you to use IT for health too. Using a PHR is just a new way to communicate information used for your health and care. It makes it easier to share health-related information, but it also makes it easier to store and access that information. Having a digital dashboard that helps you organize and review the information you use for all aspects of health and wellness just naturally becomes a part of normal routine. It’s sort of like having a digital scrapbook for all aspects of your life. As a mom, it’s a life record you’ll treasure maintaining for each of your family members. It helps everyone reflect on their growth over time and day-by-day.

Be Well,