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Department of Veteran's Affairs offers vets online access to medical images

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | May 03, 2018
Business Affairs Health IT
Vets can now access medical
images online
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is saving veterans a trip to the doctor’s office with a new online feature.

My HealtheVet portal, the VA’s online personal health record, now offers veterans the ability to access, view and download X-ray, mammogram, MR and CT scans, and associated reports from the VA EHR online through its feature, VA Medical Images and Reports.

"Prior to the portal update, to get copies of X-rays, MRs and other imaging scans, veterans had to submit a written request, which was processed manually,” a VA spokesperson told HCB News. “That request could take up to 20 days to fulfill. Now, Veterans can use the same automated tools they use to access other data in their electronic health record (My HealtheVet and/or Blue Button).”

The option goes hand-in-hand with VA Blue Button’s concept for simplifying patient access to personal health information by creating secure access to it online, and was first introduced in August 2017 at several VA medical centers to record veteran feedback.

Veterans with premium accounts will be able to access radiology studies three days after study reports have been verified.

Completed requests for specific studies will provide veterans with a lower resolution thumbnail copy of images and the associated radiology report online or in the form of a zip file with the report and DICOM images for download.

To view DICOM images, veterans can install a free DICOM image viewer with suggestions for such devices available in the VA Medical Images and Reports User Guide.

Veterans also have the option of receiving an email notification for when downloads of studies with large files are complete, and can share DICOM images with providers by downloading them to a CD, DVD, USB flash drive, portable drive or personal subscription services such as iCloud or DropBox.

“The introduction of VA Medical Imaging and Reports empowers Veterans to play a more active role in their health care,” the VA spokesperson said. “It also saves the time and money it takes to travel to a VA facility. Moving forward, additional imaging features will be provided through My HealtheVet.”

Images can be downloaded and shared with providers in and outside of the VA healthcare system.

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