In the Spotlight
Manage Your Meds: Secure Messaging and Rx Refill
One of My HealtheVet's most popular features is the ability to refill VA prescriptions online. When you log in to My HealtheVet using your Advanced or Premium account, you can manage your VA prescription refills online and view their status.
A Premium account also provides access to Secure Messaging. Secure Messaging lets you send non-urgent messages to your VA health care team online. If you have a question about a VA prescription you can send a Secure Message. Your VA health care team should respond to your message within three business days.
Using both Rx Refill and Secure Messaging provides many benefits to Veterans and members of their VA health care team.
Rudy Shokal, a U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran, uses Rx Refill and Secure Messaging to help him stay on top of his health care. "It's convenient having all my health care information in one place," Shokal said. "I can handle all of my health care tasks within 20 minutes without having to leave the site."
Saving time on commuting to and from VA medical facilities also allows him to spend more time enjoying his many hobbies, like gardening and photography. Shokal says, "I'd rather be out in my yard taking care of things, and Secure Messaging makes it one heck of a lot easier. Army Veteran Mike Bingham understands both the patient and pharmacy point of view. Part of his military service was spent in Germany at a dispensary. He also worked as a certified pharmacy technician with the Veteran Affairs for 37 years.
Bingham was often the first to see Secure Messages from Veterans at his facility. The messages enabled him to address Veterans' needs faster. "With Secure Messaging," Bingham notes, "I can respond to inquiries within minutes after reading them. A phone call might have taken me 10 minutes because I'm talking with the patient, trying to figure out the issue and explaining to them what to do."
VA Pharmacist Dr. Eric Spahn also finds that Secure Messaging saves time. Usually, Veterans call with questions about their prescriptions. They also call asking about tracking packages sent from their pharmacy and forwarding prescription renewal requests. Answering Veterans' questions is Dr. Spahn's top priority. Since Secure Messaging started, he is grateful to have this newer way for patients to contact him. Dr. Spahn says this has decreased call volume and streamlined medication management. It has also preserved his one-on-one time with patients.
Dr. Spahn and his fellow pharmacists aren't the only ones benefitting from Secure Messaging. "The patients love it. With so many businesses greeting their callers with recorded messages, people are used to automated options and hold times. You might leave a phone message, but there is no confirmation that it was received. Secure Messaging avoids the waits and wonder. It is an additional communication that helps direct messages to your health care team. Patients find comfort and satisfaction knowing that their actual VA health care teams are looking at their requests."
With Secure Messaging, Veterans can ask questions between appointments. Having a written record helps them to remember the conversation. It can also prevent misunderstandings between the pharmacist and the Veteran. In contrast to the telephone, Veterans don't need to repeat their health history every time they talk to someone new.
Secure Messaging also alerts your VA health care team to respond to your message within three business days. This keeps the conversation flowing. "This is a huge selling point for Veterans," notes Dr. Spahn. "I've seen Veterans sign up for My HealtheVet and go through the authentication process just to be able to communicate online with their VA pharmacy and health care team."
Since Secure Messaging began, Dr. Spahn has encouraged each VA facility to create pharmacy-specific Secure Messaging contacts for both Veterans and staff to send questions to the pharmacy. He has also incorporated Secure Messaging into the Ask A Pharmacist VA Mobile App. If you have a verified My HealtheVet account, you can link to VA pharmacy and Secure Messaging services via the app, allowing you to go to your personal medication and health information quickly as well as learn about pharmacy-related topics.
Upgrading to a Premium Account
Ask A Pharmacist VA Mobile App
Rx Refill VA Mobile App
Updated February 26, 2018