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: Administrative data on the population of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) service users in 2010 under the age of 65 (n = 3,841,225) were analyzed to identify the number and characteristics of homeless and nonhomeless VA service users who are likely to be eligible for the Medicaid expansion (LEME) option under the Affordable Care Act. Results showed that, estimating conservatively, about 1.2 million (21%) current VA users are LEME if all states implement the expansion. Homeless service users were twice as likely to be eligible than nonhomeless users (64% vs 30%). VA service users who are LEME, regardless of housing status, were physically healthier than those not LEME but were more likely to have substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. These findings suggest that many VA service users are LEME, particularly those who are homeless and/or have mental health needs. Cross-system use of VA and Medicaid-funded services may be advantageous for veterans with extensive medical and psychiatric needs but also risks fragmented care. Information and education for VA clinicians and their patients about possible implications of the Affordable Care Act may be important.The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 01/2014; 51(5):675-84. DOI:10.1682/JRRD.2013.10.0225 · 1.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: My HealtheVet (MHV) is the personal health record and patient portal developed by the United States Veterans Health Administration (VA). While millions of American veterans have registered for MHV, little is known about how a patient's health status may affect adoption and use of the personal health record. Our aim was to characterize the reach of the VA personal health record by clinical condition. This was a cross-sectional analysis of all veterans nationwide with at least one inpatient admission or two outpatient visits between April 2010 and March 2012. We compared adoption (registration, authentication, opt-in to use secure messaging) and use (prescription refill and secure messaging) of MHV in April 2012 across 18 specific clinical conditions prevalent in and of high priority to the VA. We calculated predicted probabilities of adoption by condition using multivariable logistic regression models adjusting for sociodemographics, comorbidities, and clustering of patients within facilities. Among 6,012,875 veterans, 6.20% were women, 61.45% were Caucasian, and 26.31% resided in rural areas. The mean age was 63.3 years. Nationwide, 18.64% had registered for MHV, 11.06% refilled prescriptions via MHV, and 1.91% used secure messaging with their clinical providers. Results from the multivariable regression suggest that patients with HIV, hyperlipidemia, and spinal cord injury had the highest predicted probabilities of adoption, whereas those with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder, alcohol or drug abuse, and stroke had the lowest. Variation was observed across diagnoses in actual (unadjusted) adoption and use, with registration rates ranging from 29.19% of patients with traumatic brain injury to 14.18% of those with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder. Some of the variation in actual reach can be explained by facility-level differences in MHV adoption and by differences in patients' sociodemographic characteristics (eg, age, race, income) by diagnosis. In this phase of early adoption, opportunities are being missed for those with specific medical conditions that require intensive treatment and self-management, which could be greatly supported by functions of a tethered personal health record.Journal of Medical Internet Research 12/2014; 16(12):e272. DOI:10.2196/jmir.3751 · 4.67 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mobile health (mHealth) refers to the use of mobile technology (e.g., smartphones) and software (i.e., applications) to facilitate or enhance health care. Several mHealth programs act as either stand-alone aids for Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or adjuncts to conventional psychotherapy approaches. Veterans enrolled in a Veterans Affairs outpatient treatment program for PTSD (N = 188) completed anonymous questionnaires that assessed Veterans' access to mHealth-capable devices and their utilization of and interest in mHealth programs for PTSD. The majority of respondents (n = 142, 76%) reported having access to a cell phone or tablet capable of running applications, but only a small group (n = 18) reported use of existing mHealth programs for PTSD. Age significantly predicted ownership of mHealth devices, but not utilization or interest in mHealth applications among device owners. Around 56% to 76% of respondents with access indicated that they were interested in trying mHealth programs for such issues as anger management, sleep hygiene, and management of anxiety symptoms. Findings from this sample suggest that Veterans have adequate access to, and interest in, using mHealth applications to warrant continued development and evaluation of mobile applications for the treatment of PTSD and other mental health conditions.Military medicine 11/2014; 179(11):1218-22. DOI:10.7205/MILMED-D-14-00014 · 0.77 Impact Factor