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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Tracking Veteran Health

For the first time, a large national population of United States veterans used the same standardized tool that the general population uses for tracking health.

More than 3,000 veterans from across the country used the tool to self-report their health in the study led by a researcher from Northwestern Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Findings showed that veterans scored worse in several areas, including feeling more anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep disturbance and pain compared to people in the general population.

These self-reported outcomes were valid because they matched physician diagnoses documented in medical records, the study found.

The study’s scientists believe patient self-reporting will be a successful way to track the health of veterans, who may be hesitant to seek medical care.

The self-reporting tool – a survey called PROMIS-29 – is commonly used in the general population but not widely or systematically offered to veterans. The scientists mailed the survey to veterans for this study, which is the first to report PROMIS-29’s use in a large national cohort of veterans.

The study was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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