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Secure Messaging: A Veteran's Story

Contributed by Devin C. Nuszbaum, Veteran, RET Army

Secure Messaging screenIt is about time!

For those of us who grew up with computers, using one to talk with our provider is something we have been wanting. Secure Messaging is here now and this Veteran loves it. At first I thought it would be less personal somehow. I am finding Secure Messaging is just the opposite:

  • I do not have to play phone tag just to let my doctor know whether his treatment plan is working. I just sign onto My HealtheVet and send a Secure Message. He is notified that he has a message to read.

  • I do not have to navigate through a million voice prompts just to make an appointment. I do not risk losing the connection at just the wrong time. I just send a Secure Message. Someone on my health care team replies with the date and time of my appointment.

  • I do not have to make an extra trip to the VA hospital in between appointments just to see my latest lab results. I just send my team a Secure Message and the results show up in my inbox.

  • Most of my Secure Messages are responded to within a few hours, if not a few minutes. I know my provider has three business days to respond before he is prompted to do so.

  • Maybe it will take him longer to respond when more of his patients are using Secure Messaging. That would still be way better than being stuck on the phone or, worse yet, in traffic.

  • When I do physically come in for appointments I am finding the time I spend with the doctor is much more productive. Thanks to my Secure Messages, he is already up to speed.

Doctors holding a laptopMy doctor tells me that Secure Messaging is rapidly being adopted by VA health care teams around the country. He says that by this time next year at least one health care team at each hospital and clinic around the country will be offering Secure Messaging.

So if your provider is not already offering Secure Messaging, ask him or her to be one of the early users. If they seem reluctant, remind them of how it will help both of you. Secure Messaging is just one more reason I am glad I get my health care at the VA.

Updated/Reviewed: November 1, 2010