VA personal health record, patient portal exceed 5 million users

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More than 5 million American veterans have registered for the My HealtheVet personal health record and patient portal to enable them to better manage their healthcare.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Monday a “record landmark” for the online tool, which is designed to refill prescriptions, view scheduled VA appointments, send secure messages to care givers, as well as download personal health records.

Developed by the Veterans Health Administration and launched in 2003, My HealtheVet has enabled veterans to refill more than 148 million prescriptions, send in more than of 86 million secure messages, view upcoming VA appointments more than 74 million times and download more than 37 million health data reports.

“My HealtheVet is a shining example of how veterans can play a more active role in their healthcare journey,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a written statement. “VA is committed to providing the necessary technologies to ensure that veterans receive care when and where they need it.”

Last year, Paul Lawrence, undersecretary for benefits at the VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration, told a Senate committee that the agency has technologies that support interoperable patient health information exchange nationwide.

“VA’s My HealtheVet Blue Button is piloting technology that allows veteran patients to share their VA health records with their community care provider directly from their personal devices,” Lawrence testified. “VA’s eHealth exchange technology is a rapidly growing network that connects VA with community health providers who can then securely share clinical information using a standardized approach.”

According to the agency, with the VA Blue Button feature, veterans are now able to:

  • Customize and download a report (as a PDF or text file) to share with VA and non-VA providers.
  • Print a report or summary to take a copy to a medical appointment.
  • Send an electronic version of information in secure message to VA clinicians.
  • Build a Personal Health Record (PHR) by self-entering personal information or data veterans have tracked.

Among its capabilities, users of My HealtheVet can record and track online nine vital signs including blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate, as well as record daily activity and food intake.

“Before you can use the VA Blue Button, you must be registered and logged in to your My HealtheVet account,” states the agency’s user guide. “Information that you have entered into My HealtheVet is labeled as Self-Reported. Information from the VA Electronic Health Record (EHR) is labeled as VA."

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