Use of the internet and an online personal health record system by US veterans: comparison of Veterans Affairs mental health service users and other veterans nationally
ABSTRACT The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates one of the largest nationwide healthcare systems and is increasing use of internet technology, including development of an online personal health record system called My HealtheVet. This study examined internet use among veterans in general and particularly use of online health information among VA patients and specifically mental health service users.
A nationally representative sample of 7215 veterans from the 2010 National Survey of Veterans was used. Logistic regression was employed to examine background characteristics associated with internet use and My HealtheVet.
71% of veterans reported using the internet and about a fifth reported using My HealtheVet. Veterans who were younger, more educated, white, married, and had higher incomes were more likely to use the internet. There was no association between background characteristics and use of My HealtheVet. Mental health service users were no less likely to use the internet or My HealtheVet than other veterans.
Most veterans are willing to access VA information online, although many VA service users do not use My HealtheVet, suggesting more education and research is needed to reduce barriers to its use.
Although adoption of My HealtheVet has been slow, the majority of veterans, including mental health service users, use the internet and indicate a willingness to receive and interact with health information online.
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ABSTRACT: Background: Vulnerable populations face difficulties accessing and using the internet and personal health record (PHR) systems for health-related purposes. Populations disconnected from the internet also tend to be disconnected from health care services.Medical Care 03/2013; 51(3):S62-S66. DOI:10.1097/MLR.0b013e31827808bf · 2.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Despite significant consumer interest and anticipated benefits, overall adoption of personal health records (PHRs) remains relatively low. Understanding the consumer perspective is necessary, but insufficient by itself. Consumer PHR use also has broad implications for health care professionals and organizational delivery systems; however, these have received less attention. An exclusive focus on the PHR as a tool for consumer empowerment does not adequately take into account the social and organizational context of health care delivery, and the reciprocal nature of patient engagement. The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of physicians, nurses, and pharmacists at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) using an organizationally sponsored PHR to develop insights into the interaction of technology and processes of health care delivery. The conceptual framework for the study draws on an information ecology perspective, which recognizes that a vibrant dynamic exists among technologies, people, practices, and values, accounting for both the values and norms of the participants and the practices of the local setting. The study explores the experiences and perspectives of VA health care professionals related to patient use of the My HealtheVet PHR portal and secure messaging systems. In-depth interviews were conducted with 30 VA health care professionals engaged in providing direct patient care who self-reported that they had experiences with at least 1 of 4 PHR features. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed to identify inductive themes. Organizational documents and artifacts were reviewed and analyzed to trace the trajectory of secure messaging implementation as part of the VA Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) model. Study findings revealed a variety of factors that have facilitated or inhibited PHR adoption, use, and endorsement of patient use by health care professionals. Health care professionals' accounts and analysis of organizational documents revealed a multidimensional dynamic between the trajectory of secure messaging implementation and its impact on organizational actors and their use of technology, influencing workflow, practices, and the flow of information. In effect, secure messaging was the missing element of complex information ecology and its implementation acted as a catalyst for change. Secure messaging was found to have important consequences for access, communication, patient self-report, and patient/provider relationships. Study findings have direct implications for the development and implementation of PHR systems to ensure adequate training and support for health care professionals, alignment with clinical workflow, and features that enable information sharing and communication. Study findings highlight the importance of clinician endorsement and engagement, and the need to further examine both intended and unintended consequences of use. This research provides an integral step toward better understanding the social and organizational context and impact of PHR and secure messaging use in clinical practice settings.Journal of Medical Internet Research 04/2013; 15(4):e70. DOI:10.2196/jmir.2443 · 4.67 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Veterans represent a unique population in need of accessing health services online. Data from a random-digit dialed survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project were used to assess differences in online use of health information among Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), Veterans not in VA, and non-Veterans. This survey of 3,001 U.S. citizens oversampled lower-income households. Questions assessed Veteran status and use of VA health care services, self-reported Internet use and Internet searching for health-related information, and social engagement related to health online. Overall results suggest Veterans represent an opportune population to utilize personal health records and health services via the Internet. Veterans in VA are more likely to search for health issues related to Alzheimer's disease and memory loss (odds ratio = 3.07; confidence interval = 1.41-8.28) compared to Veterans not in VA. Veterans receiving VA health care also reported higher proportions of social engagement related to health about tracking diet, weight, and exercise than Veterans not in VA, although not statistically significant. Veterans in VA are using the Internet for health information, and there is an opportunity to engage them more.Military medicine 04/2013; 178(4):394-400. DOI:10.7205/MILMED-D-12-00377 · 0.77 Impact Factor