Internet Use and Technology-Related Attitudes of Veterans and Informal Caregivers of Veterans.
BACKGROUND: Healthcare systems are interested in technology-enhanced interventions to improve patient access and outcomes. However, there is uncertainty about feasibility and acceptability for groups who may benefit but are at risk for disparities in technology use. Thus, we sought to describe characteristics of Internet use and technology-related attitudes for two such groups: (1) Veterans with multi-morbidity and high acute care utilization and (2) informal caregivers of Veterans with substantial care needs at home. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used survey data from two ongoing trials, for 423 Veteran and 169 caregiver participants, respectively. Questions examined Internet use in the past year, willingness to communicate via videoconferencing, and comfort with new technology devices. RESULTS: Most participants used Internet in the past year (81% of Veterans, 82% of caregivers); the majority of users (83% of Veterans, 92% of caregivers) accessed Internet at least a few times a week, and used a private laptop or computer (81% of Veterans, 89% of caregivers). Most were willing to use videoconferencing via private devices (77-83%). A majority of participants were comfortable attempting to use new devices with in-person assistance (80% of Veterans, 85% of caregivers), whereas lower proportions were comfortable "on your own" (58-59% for Veterans and caregivers). Internet use was associated with comfort with new technology devices (odds ratio 2.76, 95% confidence interval 1.70-4.53). CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that technology-enhanced healthcare interventions are feasible and acceptable for Veterans with multi-morbidity and high healthcare utilization, and informal caregivers of Veterans. In-person assistance may be important for those with no recent Internet use.
Duan-Porter, W; Van Houtven, CH; Mahanna, EP; Chapman, JG; Stechuchak, KM; Coffman, CJ; Hastings, SN
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