UMMS Affiliation

Division of Health Informatics and Implementation Science, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Diagnosis | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Mental Disorders | Military and Veterans Studies | Telemedicine


BACKGROUND: Access to mental health care is challenging. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has been addressing these challenges through technological innovations including the implementation of Clinical Video Telehealth, two-way interactive and synchronous videoconferencing between a provider and a patient, and an electronic patient portal and personal health record, My HealtheVet.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to describe early adoption and use of My HealtheVet and Clinical Video Telehealth among VHA users with mental health diagnoses.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of early My HealtheVet adoption and Clinical Video Telehealth engagement among veterans with one or more mental health diagnoses who were VHA users from 2007 to 2012. We categorized veterans into four electronic health (eHealth) technology use groups: My HealtheVet only, Clinical Video Telehealth only, dual users who used both, and nonusers of either. We examined demographic characteristics and mental health diagnoses by group. We explored My HealtheVet feature use among My HealtheVet adopters. We then explored predictors of My HealtheVet adoption, Clinical Video Telehealth engagement, and dual use using multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS: Among 2.17 million veterans with one or more mental health diagnoses, 1.51% (32,723/2,171,325) were dual users, and 71.72% (1,557,218/2,171,325) were nonusers of both My HealtheVet and Clinical Video Telehealth. African American and Latino patients were significantly less likely to engage in Clinical Video Telehealth or use My HealtheVet compared with white patients. Low-income patients who met the criteria for free care were significantly less likely to be My HealtheVet or dual users than those who did not. The odds of Clinical Video Telehealth engagement and dual use decreased with increasing age. Women were more likely than men to be My HealtheVet or dual users but less likely than men to be Clinical Video Telehealth users. Patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were significantly less likely to be My HealtheVet or dual users than those with other mental health diagnoses (odds ratio, OR 0.50, CI 0.47-0.53 and OR 0.75, CI 0.69-0.80, respectively). Dual users were younger (53.08 years, SD 13.7, vs 60.11 years, SD 15.83), more likely to be white, and less likely to be low-income than the overall cohort. Although rural patients had 17% lower odds of My HealtheVet adoption compared with urban patients (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.80-0.87), they were substantially more likely than their urban counterparts to engage in Clinical Video Telehealth and dual use (OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.95-3.09 for Clinical Video Telehealth and OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.81-2.47 for dual use).

CONCLUSIONS: During this study (2007-2012), use of these technologies was low, leaving much potential for growth. There were sociodemographic disparities in access to My HealtheVet and Clinical Video Telehealth and in dual use of these technologies. There was also variation based on types of mental health diagnosis. More research is needed to ensure that these and other patient-facing eHealth technologies are accessible and effectively used by all vulnerable patients.


United States Department of Veterans Affairs, eHealth, mental health, patient portals, telehealth, telemedicine

Rights and Permissions

© Erica A Abel, Stephanie L Shimada, Karen Wang, Christine Ramsey, Melissa Skanderson, Joseph Erdos, Linda Godleski, Thomas K Houston, Cynthia A Brandt. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (, 07.11.2018. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

DOI of Published Version



J Med Internet Res. 2018 Nov 7;20(11):e11350. doi: 10.2196/11350. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of medical Internet research

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Link to Article in PubMed

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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