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VA Tool Improves Patient Access to Health Data, Medical Images

The tool will allow patient access to health data and medical images over the veteran patient portal.

patient access to health data medical images

Source: Thinkstock

By Sara Heath

- The VA has launched a new system for patient access to health data and medical images, thus allowing patients to stake a larger claim in their own healthcare.

The system, called the VA Medical Images and Reports, will be embedded in veteran patient portals using VA’s My HealtheVet. Patients may view, download, or share their radiology studies, X-rays, mammograms, MRIs, and CT scans. All of this data will also be stored in the patient’s EHR file.

The VA Medical Images and Reports comes as a part of VA’s efforts to improve patient engagement and veteran access to their own health data, as first espoused in VA’s Blue Button initiative, according to acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

“With VA Medical Images and Reports, patients have the option of obtaining their images and reports online, eliminating the need to visit a VA facility to acquire a copy of their information,” said VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This feature aligns with VA Blue Button’s concept, which simplifies patient access to their personal health information by allowing them to retrieve it securely online.”

Patients must wait three days following a radiology report’s completion to be able to access the full results using My HealtheVet. Before that time, patients may request a copy of the report that will offer a view of a low-resolution thumbnail image from the radiology report.

Veterans can also download a zip file that would contain all images from the radiology report. To view diagnostic quality images, patients may download a free medical software that would allow them to view the image on the veterans’ own computers.

Veterans may also make copies of this health data on flash drives, CDs, and DVDs to share with other provider stakeholders.

VA has been making some headway in patient engagement technology as of late.

Earlier this week, the agency announced notable uptake of its connected health and telehealth programs. VA’s telehealth program has allowed nearly 20,000 veterans to access treatment remotely and conveniently. These efforts have improved patient satisfaction with the agency, participating providers have found.

“The response from patients has been incredible,” said Dr. Margaret Carrico, a VA primary care provider based at VAMC, Tampa. “Overall, they are delighted. Because wherever they are, they don’t have to come in here to see me. Their daughter doesn’t have to get off work, or they don’t have to drive in traffic.”

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