HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Veteran internet use and engagement with health information online.
Houston TK, Volkman JE, Feng H, Nazi KM, Shimada SL, Fox S. Veteran internet use and engagement with health information online. Military medicine. 2013 Apr 1; 178(4):394-400.
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 and 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.