219672 Rural Health Communications Strategies & My HealtheVet Outreach Project

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 11:10 AM - 11:30 AM

Alvis Hargrove , VA Capitol Health Care Network, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Linthicum, MD
Wendy Opsahl, MA , Atlas Research, Washington, DC
Brent R. Gibson, MD, MPH , Department of Health Systems Administration, SNHS, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Jeff Baetz, PMP , Atlas Research LLC, Washington, DC
Ryung Suh, MD MPH MPP MBA , Department of Health Systems Administration, SNHS, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Regarded as the largest integrated health system in the U.S., the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has long been a pioneer in the field of health information technology. VA's electronic medical records system in particular is widely recognized as a leader in health information exchange. However, many of VA's valuable health information resources, including the MyHealtheVet electronic Personal Health Record (PHR), are currently underutilized by Veterans living in rural areas. This project seeks to provide a baseline assessment that supports the development of a rural communications outreach strategy within the VA Capitol Health Care Network (VISN 5), as well as a targeted and effective MyHealtheVet expansion effort. The initial portion of the project, discussed here, is comprised of six components, which together provide a baseline assessment of communications connectivity for rural Veterans in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and surrounding areas of Virginia and West Virginia. The assessment focuses on two critical areas: Internet connectivity and usage patterns, and current VA market penetration. Based on the data gathered and presented, the team developed targeted recommendations that will form the foundation of future communications strategy and outreach plans. These include: Expand knowledge of internet and clinic preferences, increase internet access, develop a more robust communications framework, and develop effective evaluation measures.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Communication and informatics

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the current communications connectivity of rural Veterans including internet access, usage patterns, and current VA market penetration within VISN 5. 2. Discuss methods to expand access and usage of MyHealtheVet among rural Veterans. 3. Develop a basic plan to improve access and care for rural Veterans through an effective rural communications outreach strategy.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am familiar with the data collected, analyzed and reported from the initial work of the health information system at the VA
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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