SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Kevin Benedict, Gilad Parann-Nissany

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VA Introduces New and Enhanced Features for VA Blue Button

On Jan. 20, VA released an enhanced VA Blue Button, adding several new categories of information from the VA Electronic Health Record. Blue Button is the personal health record inside the My HealtheVet self-service platform and through My HealtheVet, VA Blue Button enables Veterans to download an electronic file that contains their personal health information.

“We are excited to introduce these new features of VA Blue Button, advancing the quality health care we give Veterans daily. The paradigm of patient-centered care means fully engaging patients in their health and care,” said Undersecretary for Health Robert A. Petzel, M.D. “Enabling patients to have better access to their health information is an important step in supporting them as active partners.”

Veterans now also have access to the VA Continuity of Care Document (VA CCD), which contains a summary of the Veteran’s essential health and medical care information. The document can be exchanged between providers and read by a growing number of computer applications. The VA CCD uses recognized standards that support the exchange of information between health care systems and providers for effective continued care of the patient.

Veterans can now also access VA OpenNotes, which ‘opens’ clinical notes, allowing Veterans to read their health care team’s notes from appointments and hospital stays. VA OpenNotes provides Veterans the ability to read and discuss notes with their health care teams, family and caregivers, offering them greater control over their health care.

Previously, Veterans with a premium My HealtheVet account could access appointments, allergies and adverse reactions, chemistry/hematology laboratory results, immunizations and wellness reminders. New features now available in VA Blue Button include: demographics, problem list, admissions and discharges (including discharge summaries), laboratory results (microbiology), pathology reports (surgical pathology, cytology and electron microscopy), vitals and readings, radiology reports, and a listing of Electrocardiogram (EKG) reports. In addition, self-reported food and activity journals are now also available for inclusion in the VA Blue Button.

These improvements showcases VA’s continued efforts to expand the types of information available to Veterans who have an upgraded or Premium My HealtheVet account, which is easily obtained at no cost through the website at: www.myhealth.va.gov.

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