Secure Messaging (General FAQs)
Secure Messaging (General FAQs)
What is Secure Messaging?
Secure Messaging is a secure, web-based message service that allows you to communicate non-urgent, non-emergency health-related information with your VA health care team.
How will Secure Messaging benefit me?
With Secure Messaging you are able to:
Communicate non-urgent, non-emergency health care issues and concerns with your participating health care team
Request test results and health information
Request medical appointments
Request prescription renewals
How do I participate in Secure Messaging?
First, talk to your VA health care provider to determine if Secure Messaging would be a good way to communicate with them about your health care. If they agree, you may participate in Secure Messaging if you are:
A VA patient enrolled in a VA facility
Registered as a VA patient in your My HealtheVet account (www.myhealth.va.gov)
Completed the My HealtheVet In-Person Authentication (IPA) process. Details on the IPA process can be found on the My HealtheVet website at the In-Person Authentication page
How can I access Secure Messaging?
You may access Secure Messaging through your My HealtheVet account anywhere there is a computer with Internet access. To access Secure Messaging, log in to your My HealtheVet Premium account
Under Messages on the homepage dashboard, select the link of the Secure Messaging folder you want to access. You can also access these folders from the Secure Messaging tab at the top of the homepage.
How long do secure messages stay in folders?
Secure messages stay in your folders for 12 months. After 12 months, they are maintained in the Secure Messaging database, but are no longer visible in your account. If your health care team saved your secure message as a VA Note in your VA health record, you may retrieve it by using the Blue Button Reports feature. Otherwise, older secure messages can be obtained by submitting a request to the Release of Information Office at your local VA health care facility. For the nearest facility location, use the VA Facility Locator.
Can Secure Messaging be used for medical emergencies?
No. If you think you have a medical emergency, we recommend you call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to access emergency care through Secure Messaging. If you are not sure what type of care you need, please contact your local medical clinic or facility.
How is Secure Messaging different from email?
Secure Messaging is an online service that allows you to send and receive messages from your VA health care team who have chosen to participate in Secure Messaging. You do not have to have an email account to use Secure Messaging. You can access Secure Messaging from your account on My HealtheVet.
Is my information protected and private?
All of your personal health information is secure, protected and private.
Will Secure Messaging be available 24 hours-7days a week?
You may send a non-urgent, non-emergency message at any time. Your VA health care team should respond to your message(s) within 3 business days. Business days are Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. Business days do not include after hours, weekends, or federal holidays.
What should I do if I do not get a response from my health care team in 3 federal business days?
If you do not receive a response to your message in 3 federal business days, contact your VA health care team by telephone.
How do I know if my VA provider participates in Secure Messaging?
Ask your VA health care team to if they are participating.
Who will have access to and who will respond to my messages?
Only members of your VA health care team will have access to your messages and will respond to your messages.
Can I send a message to more than one member of my VA health care team?
When you send a message it only goes to your VA health care team. Your message will then be forwarded to the appropriate health care team member to respond.
What if I do not understand the information sent by my VA health care/triage team?
If you do not understand the information in the message from your health care team member, you can reply to the message asking for another explanation.
What if the health care team does not understand my message?
If your VA health care team does not understand your question they will send you a message asking for more information. They may also contact you by telephone.
Can I communicate with a non-VA provider through Secure Messaging?
No, Secure Messaging is a way for you to communicate non-urgent, non-emergency health care issues or concerns with your VA health care team. You cannot use Secure Messaging to communicate with a non-VA provider.
Will my messages become part of my VA medical record?
In order to provide you with outstanding health care services, your health care team may decide to save some of your messages in your official VA medical record so they can refer to the information at a later date.
Can I tell if the message I sent has been read?
You can view a Read Receipt for all messages in the Sent folder. A message that has been opened by your health care team will display READ in the Read Receipt column.
Can my ability to use Secure Messaging be taken away?
Participating in Secure Messaging is a service offered to VA patients who are willing to comply with established policy and guidelines. Patients who demonstrate inappropriate communication patterns may have the service taken away.
Who do I contact if I have a problem with Secure Messaging?
The My HealtheVet Help Desk will provide you with assistance. You may contact the My HealtheVet Help Desk at the Contact US link on the My HealtheVet website, www.myhealth.va.gov
What additional references are available to me?
The Secure Messaging User Manual is a tool you may find helpful
On the My HealtheVet Homepage, select the Help tab at the top of the page
Under User Guides select the link Secure Messaging User Manual
Your health care team can also provide you with information
What is the Secure Messaging Delete Message feature?
The Secure Messaging Delete Message feature allows users to select and move Secure Messages to the Deleted folder.
How can I move a Secure Message to the Deleted folder?
Patients can move Secure Messages to the Deleted folder as follows:
From the Inbox, select the Secure Message(s) to be moved to the Deleted folder and then select the "Delete Selected" button. The selected message(s) will be moved to the Deleted folder.
A Secure Message can also be moved to the Deleted folder by opening a Secure Message and then selecting the "Delete Message" button. The message will be moved to the Deleted folder.
Note: Draft Secure Messages that are deleted will be permanently deleted and will not be moved to the Deleted folder.
How long will deleted Secure Messages be available in the Deleted folder?
Secure Messages stay in the Deleted folder for 12 months. They are then archived in the Secure Messaging database. To get archived messages, contact the Release of Information Office at your local VA health care facility. For the nearest location, use the VA Facility Locator.
What is the Secure Messaging/Veterans Health Library feature?
The Secure Messaging/Veterans Health Library (VHL) feature allows health care team members to send patient education information by including Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) from the Veterans Health Library via Secure Messaging.
How do I use the Secure Messaging/Veterans Health Library feature?
If you receive a Secure Message with a link to Veteran Health Library material from your health care team, click on the URL and the web page will open in a new window or tab.
Note: "Education" may be displayed in the Subject field of the Secure Message.
What is the Secure Messaging blocking feature?
The Secure Messaging blocking feature allows health care team members to block a patient's access to Secure Messaging. It is also possible for health care team members to block a patient's access to specific Triage Groups in Secure Messaging.
Note: If you have been blocked from using Secure Messaging you will automatically be Opted-Out. You will be required to Opt-In if your access to Secure Messaging is restored.
How will I know if I have been blocked from using Secure Messaging?
If you have been blocked from using Secure Messaging the following message will display:
"Your provider has restricted your access to Secure Messaging. If you think your access was restricted by mistake and you want to continue using Secure Messaging, contact your My HealtheVet Coordinator at your local VA Medical Center."
How will I know if I have been blocked from sending new Secure Messages to specific Triage Group(s)?
If you have been blocked from sending a new Secure Message to a specific Triage Group the following message will display:
"You have been restricted from a Triage Group(s). You are unable to send messages to those Triage Groups."
How will I know if I have been blocked from replying to Secure Messages from specific Triage Group(s)?
If you have been blocked from replying to a Secure Message from a specific Triage Group(s) the following message will display:
"Your access to this Triage Group has been restricted. You cannot send messages to this Triage Group. If you think your access was restricted by mistake, contact your My HealtheVet Coordinator at your local VA Medical Center."