In the Spotlight
Secure Messaging: Avoiding Mistakes
Discover some new things before pressing 'send'
You can't always go to your doctor's office or call your health care team for every question, request, or concern. This is where My HealtheVet's Secure Messaging feature comes in. Secure Messaging allows you to contact your health care team and other VA services. However, there are some things to know before pressing 'Send.'
Who receives my message?
When sending a Secure Message (sign in required), you choose a recipient from within your VA medical center. Many Veterans send messages to their primary health care providers. You also have the option to contact specialty care providers that you have seen within the last year, such as Orthopedics, Dermatology, and Mental Health.
Select the drop-down arrow for "To" and find a list of your participating VA health care teams. Select the group of providers/teams you want to contact within. To prevent confusion, try to avoid sending the same message to every provider group.
Select your subject
Secure Messaging helps you stay in contact with your providers and other VA staff. It's important to label your message with the right Subject. Your options are:
General - For non-urgent issues
Appointment - To ask about a future or existing appointment
Medication - To ask a question about or to renew a medication
Test - To ask about a test result or about a future test or procedure
Education - For sending educational material
Once you've selected your Subject, explain the purpose of your message in the Subject Line. For example, renewing a prescription medication:
Send an attachment
Under the Subject Line, you have the option to attach a document. Whether it's a lab test result you downloaded from your VA Blue Button report, or recent vital signs you tracked online, just select the file you want to send. Further instructions are also available.
When will I hear back?
Once you send a Secure Message, your VA health care team will likely respond within at least three business days. Business days are between Monday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (local time) and do not include after hours, weekends, or federal holidays. This means that if you send your provider a message on Friday, you may not receive a response until Wednesday. (In fact, more than 95% of all messages get a response within one day.)
Urgent or emergency health concerns should not be addressed through Secure Messaging. If you have a health emergency, call 911 for immediate help.
To stay up-to-date on your responses, you can sign in and set your Preferences to notify your personal email when a Secure Message is in your My HealtheVet inbox. Just select Preferences in the upper right-hand corner next to 'User Guide.'
There you can set the frequency of your email notifications to daily or with each message. If you change your email address for any reason, you can update it in Preferences at any time.
Upgrade to Premium
To use Secure Messaging, you must have registered on My HealtheVet as a VA Patient and have a Premium account. Stay in better contact with your VA health care team by upgrading your account today!
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