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VA Health Summary

What is a Continuity of Care Document (CCD)?

A Continuity of Care Document (CCD) is an electronic document exchange standard for sharing a summary of patient information. The goal is to:

  • Provide a summary of a patient's essential health and medical care information that can be used for the continued care of the patient.

  • Allow for information about the patient in one health system to be electronically exchanged with another health system that is providing care to the patient.

  • Be used by patients within other computer applications or systems.


What is the VA Continuity of Care Document (VA CCD)?

The VA Continuity of Care Document (VA CCD) is also known as the VA Health Summary. This is a summary of your VA health information. Your VA Health Summary contains essential health and medical care information from your VA Electronic Health Record.

The VA Health Summary was designed to allow you to share a summary of your VA health information with a non-VA health care system or provider. You can get your VA Health Summary information in two file formats:

Please be aware: anytime you open/download a PDF file, you create a temporary file on the computer you are using. Your VA CCD can be visible to other users of this computer. Learn more about protecting your personal health information.

*Some computer applications are not able to open a document that is in an .xml format. You may want to use our XML Style Sheet to read the information in your VA Health Summary.

  • Adobe PDF file format: download your information in Adobe PDF format (.pdf) which is easy to read and print. You will be able to view and print it before saving the file. If needed, you can obtain a free copy of the Adobe Reader for PDF files at the VA Viewer Software page.

  • XML file format: download your information in an XML file format (.xml). To view your VA Health Summary .xml file, you may also need to download the XML Style Sheet*, and place both files in the same folder on your computer.

Because a growing number of non-VA health care systems have applications that can read a CCD, it is good to download and save your VA Health Summary to a thumb drive and/or CD. This way you have it available, should you want to share it.


What is .xml file format?

XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It uses computer language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents. The .xml file was designed to transport and store data, not to display data. The .xml file is the most common tool for data transmissions between all sorts of applications. The .xml file format is one that is both human-readable (naturally read by humans) and machine-readable (read by a computer). To download your information in an XML file format (.xml), you may also need to download the XML Style Sheet, as well as the Cascading Style Sheet, and place all three files in the same folder on your computer.

If needed, you can obtain a free copy of the XML Style Sheet.

Please know that if you open the XML Style Sheet, the content is coded in .xml mark-up language, which is not in a readable format. The XML style sheet is a companion to your VA CCD .xml file and intended to be downloaded into the same folder on your computer or flash drive. To begin:

  • Select the XML Style Sheet and save it to a folder on your computer.

  • Select the Cascading Style Sheet and save it to the same folder.

  • Then download your VA CCD .xml file to the same folder.

  • When you open your VA CCD .xml file in this folder it may be readable

Note that using the XML Style Sheet to view the .xml file may not work in some browser versions. You can also read the same information in the .PDF format of your VA Health Summary. Please be aware: Anytime you open/download a PDF file, you create a temporary file on the computer you are using. Your VA Health Summary information can be visible to other users of this computer.


What are the requirements to download my VA Health Summary?

  • Be a Veteran enrolled at a VA health care facility

  • Be registered as a VA Patient in My HealtheVet

  • Have a My HealtheVet Premium account


Does my VA Health Summary include my complete medical record?

No, it is not intended to be a complete medical history. The document does include essential information necessary for the safe and effective continuation of your care, such as your known allergies on record with VA, and a list of your medications on record (both VA medications and non-VA medications reported to your health care team).


What is the difference between VA Blue Button and the VA Health Summary?

VA Blue Button:
  • Information is available in two file formats (.pdf file and .txt file)

  • You are able to print, save and/or download your information

  • May contain a combination of information based on your account type:

    • Self-entered information from your My HealtheVet Personal Health Record (all account types)

    • VA medications (Advanced and Premium account)

    • Key portions of your VA Electronic Health Record (Premium account)

    • DoD Military Service Information (for some Veterans with a Premium Account )

     

  • You can customize the types of information to include and the date range of the information

  • VA Health Summary:

    • Available only for Premium accounts

    • Information is available in two file formats (.pdf file and .xml file)

    • You are able to print, save and/or download your information

    • Contains a pre-selected summary of essential patient information from your VA Electronic Health Record

    • Allows for information about the patient in one health system to be electronically exchanged with another health system that is providing care to the patient

    • You can download and save the file; however you may not be able to read the .xml file within your browser

    • The file contains standardized information and cannot be customized


    What is the benefit of having my information in a VA Health Summary?

    • Allows non-VA providers access to a summary of your essential VA health information at the point of care

    • Makes it possible for your health information to be read across VA and non-VA health care systems

    • Makes it easier for other applications (e.g., electronic health systems or other personal health record applications) to read a summary of your VA health information


    What information is in my VA Health Summary?

    It contains important facts about your health and health care. This information comes from your VA health record and includes information from all of your VA treatment facilities. The version of your VA Health Summary is the Consolidated Clinical Documentation Architecture (CCDA). The primary function of the CCDA is to standardize the content and structure for clinical care summaries. It contains:

    Personal Information - this includes your name, date of birth (DOB), gender, address, marital status, religious affiliation, race, ethnicity, language(s), preferred language (your primary language, such as English, Spanish, etc.)

    Allergies - contains your known allergies on record with VA. The data comes from all of your VA treatment facilities. It does not list allergies that were removed or entered in error. Some allergies may be reported in the Immunization section.

    History of Encounters - this lists all completed VA Outpatient Encounters. The data comes from all of your VA treatment facilities. It includes the most recent 25 Encounter dates within the last 36 months. There is a limit of 10 Note titles for each Encounter. Follow-up visits related to the VA Encounter are not included.

    History of Procedures - this section includes a list of surgical procedures from the last 18 months, a maximum of the 5 most recent procedures, and radiology procedures.

    Immunizations - lists your immunizations on record with VA . The data comes from all of your VA treatment facilities. A reaction to an immunization may be reported in the Allergy section.

    Lab Results - Chemistry/Hematology - contains your Chemistry and Hematology Lab Results on record with VA. The data comes from all of your VA treatment facilities. Results include the last 24 months, and include a maximum of the 10 most recent sets of tests. Results are available 3 days after they have been verified by the lab technician.

    Medications - Prescription and Non-Prescription - displays a list of your medication (out-patient and self-reported) information. Only medications that have an active or non-active prescription status are listed. It includes all your VA medications dispensed within the last 15 months.

    Problem/Conditions - contains a list of all your problems/conditions known to VA. It includes both active and inactive problems/conditions. The data comes from all of your VA treatment facilities. Data is available 3 calendar days after it has been entered, verified and signed by a VA provider.

    Vital Signs - lists your ten most recent vital signs, or those taken within the last 12 months. These include both inpatient and outpatient measurements. If more than one set of vital signs was taken on the same date, only the most recent is recorded for that date.

    Emergency Contact Information - this includes your next of kin, emergency and guardian contacts from the most recent site of care.


    How soon will my VA health information be available to view in my VA Health Summary?

    Some information that comes from your VA health record may not be presented right away in My HealtheVet or your VA Health Summary. This is because your information may first need to be reviewed by a member of your VA health care team. The information below gives you the length of time until your VA information is available for display in the VA Health Summary

    Health Summary Section When Available
    Problems Available 3 days after entry
    Lab Results Available 3 days after being verified
    Radiology Reports Available 3 calendar days after completed
    Pathology Reports Available 14 days after being completed
    Outpatient Encounter Notes Available 3 calendar days after completed
    Consult Notes Available 3 calendar days after completed
    History & Physical (H&P) Notes Available 3 calendar days after completed
    Discharge Summary Notes Available 3 calendar days after completed
    Surgical Procedure Notes Available 3 calendar days after completed
    Clinical Procedure Notes Available 3 calendar days after completed

    NOTE: A previously generated VA Health Summary is available for up to two years.


    How often is the information in my VA Health Summary updated?

    Information in your VA Health Summary is updated when you visit the VA Blue Button page and request your VA Health Summary. Updates take place once each day.


    Who will be able to access information in my VA Health Summary file?

    You control who has access to your information. You decide if you want to share your information and who you want to share it with.


    What is the best way to save/download my VA Health Summary?

    You can save/download your VA Health Summary file to a secure location such as a thumb drive and/or CD. This way it is portable and can be easily shared. You can download your VA Health Summary information in an .xml or .pdf file format:

    • Adobe PDF file format: download your information in Adobe PDF format (.pdf) which is easy to read and print. You will be able to view and print it before saving the file. If needed, you can obtain a free copy of the Adobe Reader for PDF files at the VA Viewer Software page.

      Please be aware: anytime you open/download a PDF file, you create a temporary file on the computer you are using. Your VA Health Summary can be visible to other users of this computer. Learn more about protecting your personal health information.

    • XML file format: download your information in an XML file format (.xml). To view your VA CCD .xml file, you may also need to download the XML Style Sheet, as well as the Cascading Style Sheet, and place all three files in the same folder on your computer. If needed, you can obtain a free copy of the XML Style Sheet and the Cascading Style Sheet.


    How will a non-VA provider or health care system get access to this information?

    For a non-VA provider or health care system to access information in your VA Health Summary you must share it with them. You can do this by saving a copy of your VA Health Summary to a thumb drive and/or CD. You should NOT send your personal health information using email, since this is not secure. Visit Protecting Your Personal Health Information to learn more.


    How will I know if my non-VA provider is able to access my VA Health Summary?

    Ask a member of your non-VA health care team. They can determine if their computer system can access information that is in a VA Health Summary.


    Is my information in My HealtheVet secure?

    The VA follows strict security policies and practices to make sure that your personal health information is safe and protected.

    Important to Note: You are responsible for protecting your personal information you print out or download. It is important to protect your information. Protect this information the same way you would protect your banking or credit card information. Do not leave your printed information on a printer. Do not save your downloaded information to a public computer. When using a public computer, save your information to a CD and/or thumb drive. Remember to take the CD or thumb drive with you when you finish. You should NEVER send an email that contains personal health information. This is because email is not secure. Visit protecting your personal health information to learn more.

    Please be aware: anytime you open/download a PDF file, you create a temporary file on the computer you are using. Your VA Health Summary can be visible to other users of this computer. Learn more about protecting your personal health information.


    Who do I contact if I have technical questions about the VA Health Summary feature?

    If you need assistance with the VA Health Summary feature, please contact the My HealtheVet Help Desk:

    • You can send us details using the Contact MHV form. Our goal is to reply to you by the next business day.

    • Or, call us directly at 1-877-327-0022, Monday - Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. (Central Time). For TTY, call 1-800-877-8339.