This past weekend, the Veterans Health Administration kept their promise of shared health data — substantially expanding health record information available to patients through the VA Blue Button in the personal health record. About 1 million patients can get their whole record via VA Blue Button.
Now, My HealtheVet PHR users can get all test results, from labs to radiology to pathology. Pathology! They can download and print providers’ clinical notes. Notes! It’s not real time, but it’s Real Big. Notes and results can be seen after 7 days. Pathology at 14 days.
As a clinical champion of this effort, I field questions and concerns. Angst is from mental health providers, with concerns about patients seeing their written assessments. Some believe it may negatively affect clinician-patient therapeutic relationships. I try to point out that (a) patients already have legal access to these notes, (b) VA opened records to >7000 patients for 10 years and not much happened (except people got empowered), and (c) research shows more benefit than expected.
We don’t have all the answers, and still have a lot to learn about this. But now there’s one very large place to learn from…
What do you think? How will patients and clinicians benefit? Will there be downsides? What about health systems, what will change? Let me know.
Additional comments posted on Society for Participatory Medicine blog.
Note: this post does not represent any organization or agency