Skip Navigation Skip Navigation To Login
United States Department  of Veterans Affairs

In the Spotlight

Secure Messaging: Coming Soon to a VA Medical Center Near You

Contributed by David M. Douglas, MD (Dr. Douglas is a pioneer in Secure Messaging.
He is also the My Health
eVet lead for getting Secure Messaging out to Veterans using VA health care.)

Image of MHV web site with new SM tab

VA often asks Veterans what they would like to see added on My HealtheVet. One of the top requests is "being able to talk online with my doctor." There are now over a million registered users on My HealtheVet. If you are one of the Veterans eager for this to happen, then we have good news for you. Secure Messaging is now in use at more than 40 VA facilities. If you are a My HealtheVet registered user and have an upgraded account, you are ready. It will be available across the entire VA by September 2011.

If you are a Veteran patient at a VA facility using Secure Messaging, you will notice a new Secure Messaging Tab. This tab is located on the upper right-hand corner of My HealtheVet.

The first time you click on the Secure Messaging Tab, you will see Terms and Conditions of Use. This information is important. Read it carefully before you "Opt In" to use this new service. Once you Opt In, you will be taken to your own personal Secure Messaging Inbox.

Image of patient and doctor using secure messagingSince Secure Messaging is being rolled out in phases, your health care team may not yet be using it. You can find out if your health care team is using Secure Messaging by creating a new message. If you see the name of one of your providers as a choice in the "To" field, then you know you can send a message to the health care team led by your provider.

Depending on the Secure Message subject, your primary care provider may not be the one to respond:

  • A change of address or appointment cancellation may be taken care of by a clerk.

  • Questions about medications may be answered by a pharmacist working with your provider.

  • Questions about symptoms may be reviewed first by a nurse, and only referred to your primary care provider if needed.

Image of doctor using secure messagingUsing Secure Messaging offers many benefits. Secure Messaging can help build a better partnership between the Veteran and members of their health care team. It makes sharing information about health concerns easier. Secure Messaging is easy to use. It reduces the need for telephone calls and waiting on hold. It is more efficient than the telephone for non-urgent issues, such as:

  • Prescription renewal

  • Test results

  • Appointments

Have you have ever been frustrated trying to take care of these concerns by telephone? You can now use Secure Messaging to type in your request and "Send" it to your health care team.

Secure Messaging is more than another way of doing business by telephone. In the future, it may be possible for some of your appointments to take place using Secure Messaging. This will get rid of the need to drive to a VA Medical Center or clinic. Secure Messaging is a way for the VA to make Veteran health care even better.

Secure Messaging is not for emergency situations.
Secure Messaging should only be used for
non-emergency and non-urgent matters.

Learn More:

Active Learning:


  • Sharing Your Health Information (My HealtheVet) Do you want to be an active partner with your health care team? Good health care is about you and members of your the health care team sharing information. This may improve the care you get.

  • Talk With Your Health Care Provider (My HealtheVet) If you work as partners, you and your health care provider can come away from each visit feeling more satisfied.

  • Taking an Active Role in Your Health (My HealtheVet) Take an active role in your health care: learn about your health, take part in decision-making, and follow the treatment plan you worked out with your health care team.

Updated/Reviewed: November 1, 2010

Related Links