Protecting Your Personal Health Information
The Department of Veterans Affairs takes safeguarding and protecting your information very seriously. You should, too. You control access to your personal information. It is your responsibility to keep your information private and protected. To help protect your privacy, My HealtheVet is providing you with some important points to remember:
- Choose a smart password. Your password is your first line of defense.
Keep your passwords secret, safe and secure. If you need to write them down, put them in a safe, secure place.
You should not share your password with others. Treat your password like you would your credit card. Remember, your passwords open up records to your personal information.
Consider changing your password and hint questions and answers if you ever think someone might know what it is. (Not any more ---now it's to change only if compromised)
Do not use the same password on other sites. This may allow others to steal your password from less secure websites.
If you download your health or service information, make sure it is to a safe and secure location:
You may want to download your information to a CD or flash drive. If so, consider purchasing an encrypted flash drive. You may also encrypt or require a password to access a CD.
Keep your flash drive or other device in a safe place - just like you do all of your other important information.
When you no longer need the information on your flash drive or CD, erase it.
If you are using a public computer, the safest way to view your health data is to choose the View/Print option for the .TXT file. If you choose to open or download a PDF file, you may create a temporary file on the computer. This file may be viewed by others. Do not download information from your My HealtheVet account when using public or shared computers.
Make sure you take all printed pages from the printer.
Keep paper copies of your health records in a safe and secure place, like a locked desk drawer or a personal safe.
Destroy paper copies you no longer need by shredding or burning them.
If you share paper copies of your records or flash drives with family members or caregivers, make sure that they safeguard your information too!
Do not share your password with others. Remember, you control access to your personal health information. Protect it and keep it safe
Do not share your health information by sending it through email. Email is not secure and can travel over the Internet without protection. Someone may be able to access or tamper with your information.
You should not send emails that contain personal information. This includes your Social Security Number, full name, street address, birth date, mother's maiden name, or any information or combination of information that can be used to personally identify you or someone else.
If you wish to send your information by email, you need to use encryption software to protect your message and any file you attach to your email. You can learn much more from US-CERT.
If you have any reason to believe that someone has access to your My HealtheVet account, change your password and hint questions and answers immediately. You may also contact the My HealtheVet Help Desk at 1-877-327-0022 (1-800-877-8339 TTY) Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Central Time).