Do diabetic veterans use the Internet? Self-reported usage, skills, and interest in using My HealtheVet Web portal.
OBJECTIVE: The Veterans Health Administration has developed My HealtheVet (MHV), a Web-based portal that links veterans to their care in the veteran affairs (VA) system. The objective of this study was to measure diabetic veterans' access to and use of the Internet, and their interest in using MHV to help manage their diabetes. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cross-sectional mailed survey of 201 patients with type 2 diabetes and hemoglobin A(1c) > 8.0% receiving primary care at any of five primary care clinic sites affiliated with a VA tertiary care facility. Main measures included Internet usage, access, and attitudes; computer skills; interest in using the Internet; awareness of and attitudes toward MHV; demographics; and socioeconomic status. RESULTS: A majority of respondents reported having access to the Internet at home. Nearly half of all respondents had searched online for information about diabetes, including some who did not have home Internet access. More than a third obtained "some" or "a lot" of their health-related information online. Forty-one percent reported being "very interested" in using MHV to help track their home blood glucose readings, a third of whom did not have home Internet access. Factors associated with being "very interested" were as follows: having access to the Internet at home (p < 0.001), "a lot/some" trust in the Internet as a source of health information (p = 0.002), lower age (p = 0.03), and some college (p = 0.04). Neither race (p = 0.44) nor income (p = 0.25) was significantly associated with interest in MHV. CONCLUSIONS: This study found that a diverse sample of older VA patients with sub-optimally controlled diabetes had a level of familiarity with and access to the Internet comparable to an age-matched national sample. In addition, there was a high degree of interest in using the Internet to help manage their diabetes.
Cho, AH; Arar, NH; Edelman, DE; Hartwell, PH; Oddone, EZ; Yancy, WS
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