New Bedford, United States
New Bedford, United States

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McInnes D.K.,Edith Nourse Rogers VA Hospital | Sawh L.,Edith Nourse Rogers VA Hospital | Petrakis B.A.,Edith Nourse Rogers VA Hospital | Rao S.,Edith Nourse Rogers VA Hospital | And 5 more authors.
Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association | Year: 2014

BACKGROUND: Addressing the health needs of homeless veterans is a priority in the United States, and, although information technologies can potentially improve access to and engagement in care, little is known about this population's use of information technologies or their willingness to use technologies to communicate with healthcare providers and systems.MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study fills this gap through a survey of homeless veterans' use of information technologies and their attitudes about using these technologies to assist with accessing needed healthcare services.RESULTS: Among the 106 homeless veterans surveyed, 89% had a mobile phone (one-third were smartphones), and 76% used the Internet. Among those with a mobile phone, 71% used text messaging. Nearly all respondents (93%) were interested in receiving mobile phone reminders (text message or phone call) about upcoming medical appointments, and a similar proportion (88%) wanted mobile phone outreach asking if they would like to schedule an appointment if they had not been seen by a health provider in over a year. In addition, respondents already used these technologies for information and communication related to health, housing, and jobs.CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest new avenues for communication and health interventions for hard-to-reach homeless veterans.


Diaz K.,Health Science University | Faverio P.,Health Science University | Faverio P.,University of Milan Bicocca | Hospenthal A.,Health Science University | And 6 more authors.
Annals of Thoracic Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an important cause of morbidity in the elderly population. Limited data are available regarding the healthcare utilization and predisposing conditions related to OSA in the elderly. Our aim was to evaluate the healthcare utilization and the conditions associated with new and chronic diagnosis of OSA in a large cohort of elderly patients in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Materials and Methods: This retrospective cohort study used inpatient and outpatient VHA data to identify the individuals diagnosed with OSA using ICD-9 codes during the fiscal years 2003-2005. Primary outcomes were emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the demographic and clinical characteristics associated with new and chronic diagnosis of OSA. Results: Of 1,867,876 elderly veterans having 2 years of care, 82,178 (4.4%) were diagnosed with OSA. Individuals with OSA were younger and more likely to have chronic diseases than those without OSA. Individuals with chronic OSA were more likely to have diagnoses of congestive heart failure (CHF), pulmonary circulation disorders, COPD, and obesity and less likely to have diagnoses of hypertension, osteoarthritis, and stroke than individuals with newly diagnosed OSA. The proportion of patients with new OSA diagnosis who required at least one ED visit was higher than the proportion of chronic OSA and no OSA patients (37%, 32%, and 15%, respectively; P-value <0.05). The proportion of new OSA patients who required at least one hospitalization was also higher than the proportion of chronic OSA and no OSA patients (24%, 17%, and 7%, respectively; P-value <0.05). Conclusion: Patients with OSA had a higher incidence of healthcare utilization compared to patients without OSA. New OSA patients had a higher rate of healthcare utilization in the year of diagnosis compared to chronic patients and patients without OSA. Early OSA recognition may reduce healthcare utilization in these patients. Copyright © 2014 by The Saudi Thoracic Society.


McInnes D.K.,Edith Nourse Rogers VA Hospital | McInnes D.K.,Boston University | Sawh L.,Edith Nourse Rogers VA Hospital | Sawh L.,National Center on Homelessness among Veterans | And 15 more authors.
Telemedicine and e-Health | Year: 2014

Background: Addressing the health needs of homeless veterans is a priority in the United States, and, although information technologies can potentially improve access to and engagement in care, little is known about this population's use of information technologies or their willingness to use technologies to communicate with healthcare providers and systems. Materials and Methods: This study fills this gap through a survey of homeless veterans' use of information technologies and their attitudes about using these technologies to assist with accessing needed healthcare services. Results: Among the 106 homeless veterans surveyed, 89% had a mobile phone (one-third were smartphones), and 76% used the Internet. Among those with a mobile phone, 71% used text messaging. Nearly all respondents (93%) were interested in receiving mobile phone reminders (text message or phone call) about upcoming medical appointments, and a similar proportion (88%) wanted mobile phone outreach asking if they would like to schedule an appointment if they had not been seen by a health provider in over a year. In addition, respondents already used these technologies for information and communication related to health, housing, and jobs. Conclusions: These findings suggest new avenues for communication and health interventions for hard-to-reach homeless veterans. © 2014 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


McInnes D.K.,Edith Nourse Rogers VA Hospital | McInnes D.K.,Boston University | Fix G.M.,Edith Nourse Rogers VA Hospital | Fix G.M.,Boston University | And 8 more authors.
PeerJ | Year: 2015

Background. Homeless veterans have complex healthcare needs, but experience many barriers to treatment engagement. While information technologies (IT), especially mobile phones, are used to engage patients in care, little is known about homeless veterans' IT use. This study examines homeless veterans' access to and use of IT, attitudes toward health-related IT use, and barriers to IT in the context of homelessness. Methods. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 30 homeless veterans in different housing programs in Boston, MA, ranging from emergency shelters to supportive transitional housing that allow stays of up to 2 years. Interviews were conducted in person, audio recorded and then transcribed. Three researchers coded transcripts. Inductive thematic analysis was used. Results. Most participants (90%) had a mobile phone and were receptive to IT use for health-related communications. A common difficulty communicating with providers was the lack of a stable mailing address. Some participants were using mobile phones to stay in touch with providers. Participants felt mobile-phone calls or text messages could be used to remind patients of appointments, prescription refills, medication taking, and returning for laboratory results. Mobile phone text messaging was seen as convenient, and helped participants stay organized because necessary information was saved in text messages. Some reported concerns about the costs associated with mobile phone use (calls and texting), the potential to be annoyed by too many text messages, and not knowing how to use text messaging. Conclusion. Homeless veterans use IT and welcome its use for health-related purposes. Technology-assisted outreach among this population may lead to improved engagement in care.


PubMed | Boston University, Edith Nourse Rogers VA Hospital and University of Massachusetts Medical School
Type: | Journal: PeerJ | Year: 2015

Background. Homeless veterans have complex healthcare needs, but experience many barriers to treatment engagement. While information technologies (IT), especially mobile phones, are used to engage patients in care, little is known about homeless veterans IT use. This study examines homeless veterans access to and use of IT, attitudes toward health-related IT use, and barriers to IT in the context of homelessness. Methods. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 30 homeless veterans in different housing programs in Boston, MA, ranging from emergency shelters to supportive transitional housing that allow stays of up to 2 years. Interviews were conducted in person, audio recorded and then transcribed. Three researchers coded transcripts. Inductive thematic analysis was used. Results. Most participants (90%) had a mobile phone and were receptive to IT use for health-related communications. A common difficulty communicating with providers was the lack of a stable mailing address. Some participants were using mobile phones to stay in touch with providers. Participants felt mobile-phone calls or text messages could be used to remind patients of appointments, prescription refills, medication taking, and returning for laboratory results. Mobile phone text messaging was seen as convenient, and helped participants stay organized because necessary information was saved in text messages. Some reported concerns about the costs associated with mobile phone use (calls and texting), the potential to be annoyed by too many text messages, and not knowing how to use text messaging. Conclusion. Homeless veterans use IT and welcome its use for health-related purposes. Technology-assisted outreach among this population may lead to improved engagement in care.

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