VA Makes Radiology Images and Reports Available to Veterans

Military veterans with certain My HealtheVet accounts now have access to an electronic health record (EHR) function that has eluded users of traditional civilian EHRs: the ability to view, download, and print radiology studies.

The Veterans Administration (VA) launched a pilot program in August 2017 at designated VA medical facilities that allowed veterans with a Premium My HealtheVet—the VA’s patient portal—to view, download, and print many of their medical images and reports online. The downloaded images and reports were also viewable and thus shareable with providers outside the VA system. The VA received positive test feedback from veterans and has made this function more widely available to users with Premium accounts, according to Health Data Management.

Veterans have access to X-rays, mammograms, MRIs, and CT scans, which they can download to CDs, USB flash drives, and personal DropBox or iCloud accounts. They can also download and install a free imaging viewer onto their own personal computers and view the image files.

According to a VA statement, when a request for a specific study is completed, veterans can view a lower resolution thumbnail copy of the images and the associated radiology report online, or download a .ZIP file that contains the report and diagnostic quality images. For studies with large files, veterans can choose to receive an email notification when the download request is complete.

“With VA Medical Images and Reports, patients have the option of obtaining their images and reports online, eliminating the need to visit a VA facility to acquire a copy of their information,” said VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie in a statement. “This feature aligns with VA Blue Button’s concept, which simplifies patient access to their personal health information by allowing them to retrieve it securely online.”

Mary Butler is the associate editor at Journal of AHIMA.

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