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VA Makes It Easier to Share Your Health Information with Private Doctors

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Doctor entering patient notes on laptop in surgery

An update to the computer program behind the VA's "Blue Button" health record sharing system will make it more accessible to physicians outside the VA, according to a new announcement.

What Is 'Blue Button?'

The Department of Veteran Affairs Blue Button program began in 2010, and is designed to let veterans download their health data or share it with non-VA providers. The Blue Button is part of a veteran's MyHealtheVet account.

Some of the information available to download via Blue Button includes:

  • Allergies
  • Medications
  • Immunizations
  • Vital Signs
  • Lab Tests
  • EKG Results
  • Radiology Reports
  • Pathology Reports
  • Results of medical appointments (Outpatient Encounters and Associated Progress Notes, Consult Notes, History & Physical Notes, Discharge Summaries)
  • Procedures (Surgical Procedures and Associated Procedure Notes, Clinical Procedure Notes)

Blue Button has two reports available -- one for the veteran, and one for physicians. While the data is the same in each report, the formatting is different.

Open Software Standards

Thanks to the new upgrade, the physician version of a veteran's health information now complies with the healthcare industry's standard open source software format.

Going forward, your non-VA doctor should be able to click one button and have all your health data download automatically into his or her computer system. That change should speed up record sharing and lowering the likelihood of duplicative or conflicting treatments.

What You Need to Do

Record sharing isn't automatic. To share your data with your non-VA provider, you must first sign a release of data authorization form to let the VA share your personal data.

Thankfully, you don't need to sign this form for every doctor, just one form authorizes VA to share your data with all authorized medical providers. You can complete this form on eBenefits, in person, or via the mail.

For details about the release of data, see VA's instructions.

Stay On Top Of Your Benefits

Unsure of which veteran healthcare benefits you are entitled to? Keep up with all the changes and details by signing up for a free Military.com membership, which will send all the latest benefits straight to your inbox, as well as give you access to up-to-date benefit information and more.

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