My HealtheVet: your VA electronic health record

If you are enrolled at the VA, you will have access to the website My HealtheVet. My HealtheVet is a great way to track your healthcare while a patient at the VA. Although any veteran that goes to the VA is eligible for a My HealtheVet account, you have to sign up for the program.

You can sign up for My HealtheVet electronically by using this link. Here are a few of the services that I use the most in My HealtheVet.

Pharmacy – This feature lets you look at your current VA prescriptions and medicine you have been subscribed in the past. If your doctor issued multiple refills of a prescribed medicine, you can order one of those refills electronically. The medicine will then be sent to your mailing address. This sure beats the old days when you would have to make a special trip to the VA just to get a prescription refilled.

Track health – This feature lets you read any lab tests or blood work that you did in the past. Test results are usually loaded into My HealtheVet a week after you did the blood work.

Secure messaging – This is basically an email service for every clinic you are a member of at the VA. Whenever you go to a new doctor in a specialty clinic, you will see that clinic added to the list of people you can send a message too. VA doctors are required to respond to your email within a few business days. I have asked questions in the past and didn’t receive a great answer, but I have never failed to receive a response. If you call your clinic, you often won’t be able to catch your doctor on the phone. Secure messaging is your best bet to save you another trip to the VA.

Blue button – This feature allows you to download all of your past VA healthcare. This will let you see all the notes the doctor or nurse put into the computer. This is important if you apply for disability compensation. Most disability compensation requests will require a doctor visit at the VA. By using the blue button after your visit, you will be able to see the doctor’s note and see if they believe your disability claim is service related. I don’t know how far back these records go. I first became a VA patient in 2002 and it seems I can see back that far. The My HealtheVet website says you can use the blue button to view military service information as well. I never saw that when I downloaded my personal health record (PHR) when using the blue button. Downloading your data is a really good idea if you see doctors outside the VA. That way they will know what type of treatment your VA doctors have provided.

VA appointment – This feature lets you look at the dates of upcoming and previous appointments.

I think My HealtheVet is a great service. My one complaint is that they give you access to your healthcare record without giving you any patient education needed to actually read the record. The doctor’s notes make sense and can be read, but the lab results and things like audiology tests can really only be read by a trained medical professional. They don’t provide these tests in a way a normal human being can understand.

Ever VA medical center should have a My HealtheVet coordinator. They are often positioned close to the entrance to the hospital. It is their job to encourage veterans to sign up for the program and are very helpful if you have any My HealtheVet questions.