Virtual Health and Wellness Center for the Oregon Air National Guard


Name: Deborah Messecar


Organization: Oregon Health Sciences University

Performance Site: Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR

Year Published: 1999

Abstract Status: Final


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of implementing a virtual health and wellness center in the Oregon Air National Guard (ORANG). The specific aims of the study were to describe Air Guard Members goals for making health behavior changes and their preferred formats for receiving information that will assist them.Research Design: Cross-sectional survey of ORANG members.Survey: A survey was constructed with ORANG member focus group input. The survey asked about the health behaviors members wanted to change, and explored their current access to, and use of the Internet to make these changes.Respondents: Surveys were mailed to 1,368 persons, and 521 complete surveys were returned for a response rate of approximately 38%.Main Outcome: Support for a Virtual Health and Wellness Center.Results: 92.5% of respondents answered that they had thought of making one or more health behavior changes in the past year. Among those that had contemplated making changes, the most popular change was becoming more physically active (94.6%) followed by improving eating habits (86%), or losing weight (81%), and improving stress management (62%) and reduction of tobacco use (46%). Popular sources of health behavior change information used included reading material (95.5%) and the Internet (91.3%). Health care providers were the most important resource participants reported using (90%) when seeking personal service help with making a behavior change. 86% of respondents indicated that they had access to a desktop computer at home, only 15% had access to a laptop at home and a minuscule (less than .1%) number used Web TV. Activities that respondents used their computers at home for included leisure (57% use their computer at home for this purpose at least some of the time), work (50% use their computer at home for this purpose at least some of the time), and school work (11% report using their computer at home for this purpose at least some of the time). To the question, do you have Internet access at home, 81.8 % (n = 426) responded in the affirmative. At least 50% of the participants had been on-line for 3 years or more. 86% of the respondents who have Internet access go on-line at least several times per week, and 53% go on daily or more often. The average number of hours spent on-line weekly was M=4.8, SD=.25 for personal uses, and M=8.7, SD=.51 for total useage. For the entire sample, the functions on the Internet most commonly used on personal time were email (42.2% reported this was their most common use of the Internet) and searching and accessing information from the web (35.7% reported that was their most common use of the Internet). Use of bulletin board systems and File Transfers were used far less commonly (only .2% reported they used these features frequently). Email was the feature used most commonly at work (49% of the entire sample reported that this was their most common use of the Internet in the work setting). Out of the respondents who reported that they did not have access to the web, 46% reported expense was a significant barrier, and 41% reported lack of time was a factor. Only 19% reported that lack of web training was a factor in preventing access for them and only one person thought that their inability to learn was a factor. Of all those who responded to the survey, only 4% said that they did not have Internet access because they were not interested. For the items of the computer self-efficacy scale, frequency distributions indicate that 91.9% to 53.7% report that they are very confident that they can perform beginning level computer skills, 53.6% to 15.5% report that they are very confident that they can perform advanced level computer skills.Conclusion: According to the respondents of this survey, use of the Internet by health professionals to promote health behavior change seems feasible and desirable.


Final report is available on NTRL: