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Development of My Health Companion© to Enhance Self-Care Management of Chronic Health Conditions in Rural Dwellers


Clarann Weinert, College of Nursing, Montana State University, PO Box 173560, Bozeman, MT 59717. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Appropriate self-management support is needed to help individuals and their families meet the challenges of living with chronic health conditions. Such support is characterized by productive interactions between informed, active individuals, and their health care providers. The purposes of this paper are to describe the challenges to achieving self-management support and a tool, My Health Companion© (MHC), which was developed to meet that challenge. The MHC is a paper personal health record designed to help rural women with chronic health conditions to better manage and understand their health information. The selection of content for the MHC was based on the literature, input from health care experts, and chronically ill individuals, and its development incorporated principles of personal health record and clear communication. The MHC was anecdotally shown to be useful to rural women with chronic health conditions in preparing for and enhancing their visits with health care providers. As a source of information, the MHC had potential for: being beneficial to providers in recommending appropriate treatment; contributing to more informed health decision making by ill individuals; and serving as a vehicle for the establishment of more productive interactions that contributed to the achievement of true client-provider partnerships in health care.