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Urgent vs. Non-urgent in Secure Messaging

Are you a Veteran receiving care at a VA facility? Because you may be eligible to use Secure Messaging to communicate with your health care team online. Enjoy the convenience of having your concerns and questions answered by your doctor without scheduling an appointment. When you use Secure Messaging to speak with your health care provider, you will see the following message: secure-messaging-note

What does this mean for you?

Understanding the difference between non-urgent and urgent messages can help you safely seek information or care. It also ensures that you receive the right care at the right time. Secure Messaging is not a hotline for health problems. It should not be used if you need immediate attention or as an extension of the emergency room. Secure Messaging is for routine questions you may have for members of your health care team.

Non-urgent messages

Non-urgent messages are routine and do not require immediate attention. In most cases, these are messages that can wait to be answered, like a routine visit with your primary care clinic.

Some examples of a non-urgent concerns include:

  • Asking about an appointment

  • Renewing your medications

  • Asking about your medications

  • Lab-test results

  • Message to the clinic staff

  • Question to your health care team

Urgent messages

Urgent messages are more severe and may need immediate medical attention. Urgent health concerns are considered serious and require emergency care. If not treated immediately they could result in disability or death. Urgent or emergency health concerns should not be addressed through Secure Messaging.

Some examples of urgent medical concerns include:

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Fever

  • Spinal cord or back injury

  • Broken bone

  • Trouble breathing

  • Chest pain

  • Feeling suicidal (You can always reach out to the Veterans Crisis Line)

If you are away from home and cannot wait until you see your health care provider for treatment, you need to go to the closest VA Clinic, Urgent Care or emergency room. If you have trouble breathing or have chest pain, it is recommended you call 911 for immediate help. Do not use Secure Messaging in place of seeking medical care.


Please vote in our unscientific poll. All responses are anonymous

What non-urgent concern do you use Secure Messaging for the most?

% Votes
7% 22
a. Asking about an appointment
40% 134
b. Renewing your medications or supplies
9% 29
c. Asking about your medications
45% 151
d. Questions to your health care team

Total Votes: 336

Read More

Secure Messaging Basics

VA Secure Messaging (logon required)


Updated December 4, 2018