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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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'Talking' On-Line to Your VA Health Care Team

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Young man on laptop sips coffee as senior doctor communicates with him by computer.

Veterans who receive primary care services at a VA hospital or clinic in Florida, South Georgia or the Caribbean can now “talk” to their health care team quickly, safely and confidentially from their own computer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Veterans who receive primary care services at a VA hospital or clinic in Florida, South Georgia or the Caribbean can now “talk” to their health care team quickly, safely and confidentially via e-mail. 

The new communication tool is called “Secure Messaging” and it allows Veterans to communicate electronically with their VA Primary Care team.  Secure messaging is for routine, non-urgent communication such as a request for a medical appointment, inquiry about a prescription or refill, request for test results, or a question about a non-emergent health care problem or issue. 

Secure Messaging saves Veterans time, money and best of all, it gives them 24-hour access to their health care team, according to a VA physician.   

“Veterans avoid long hold times on the telephone and unlike an appointment, there are no co-pays.  Also, patients feel more in control of their care and enjoy personalized attention from their providers,” said Dr. Angela Denietolis, Associate Chief of Staff for Ambulatory Care, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, Tampa, Fla.  

Accessible via My HealtheVet

Secure Messaging is accessible to Veterans through their My HealtheVet account, a web-based application that offers users anywhere, anytime access to their health records and tools including prescription refills, VA appointments, personalized wellness reminders, personal health history, trusted health information, and of course, the VA Blue Button, a feature that packages all available health records into a single file that can be safely shared with health professionals and others

U.S. Navy Veteran Valarie Milewski uses Secure Messaging to communicate with her VA health care team and described how it well it works for her.  

“I’ve been using My HealtheVet for a long time to refill prescriptions and keep track of appointments.   At first, I was skeptical about using Secure Messaging.  I know how busy the VA providers are.  Would my provider really have time to check for messages, too? 

“The answer is YES.  Within 30 minutes of my note, I received a phone call from a team nurse informing me that my message was received, reviewed and a change of prescription was entered for me.  I was asked if I wanted to pick up the medication locally or have it mailed to my home!  I was thrilled that Secure Messaging worked so well.  All my fellow Veterans should use this new and exciting communication tool,” Ms. Milewski said.

To take advantage of Secure Messaging, Veterans first need to create an account on My HealtheVet (MHV).  Next, they need to upgrade their MHV account by watching a brief on-line video and downloading a VA Release Form which can be dropped off at the VA hospital or clinic where they are enrolled for care during their next visit.  They can also complete the form at the VA facility.  To complete this one-time In-Personal Verification (IPA) process, they will need to show a government issued VA identification card, driver’s license or passport. The IPA process is important because it verifies a Veteran’s My HealtheVet user identify and protects their information, officials say. 

To learn more about whether Secure Messaging is the right choice, eligible Veterans should talk to any member of their VA health care team.

Resources:

To register with My HealtheVet, Click Here 

For more information on My HealtheVet, visit www.myhealth.va.gov

Contact Stuart Murdock, My HealtheVet Coordinator, at 727-398-6661 extension 5464.