x-ray (Puwadol Jaturawutthichai/Shutterstock.com)

2018 Government Innovation Awards

High-speed delivery of critical health data

A new feature of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ My HealtheVet portal gives veterans almost immediate access to their medical images and reports.

Electronic Access to VA Medical Images and Reports

Department of Veterans Affairs

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“Previously, veterans were required to submit a written request to get copies of their X-rays or MRIs, and then that was manually processed, and that request could take up to 20 days for a veteran to get a physical copy of their results,” said Theresa Hancock, director of the My HealtheVet National Program Office. “The problems we were trying to solve were ease of access, timeliness and reducing stress on the patient.”

Veterans can now log onto the site to request images and receive low-resolution thumbnail copies along with associated radiology reports. They can also ask for a Zip file containing the full-resolution images and reports. Because those files can take awhile to download, users can ask to be notified via email when the files are ready.

Veterans can also download a free viewer to see the images and save them to a personal cloud service, such as iCloud or a Dropbox, so they can easily share documents when they have an urgent care visit or appointment with a specialist.

Between the feature’s release in April and the end of August, almost 231,000 requests were made via the portal, and nearly 870,000 reports were viewed.

The solution “addressed ease of access because it’s available electronically to download,” Hancock said. “It addressed timeliness because it’s anywhere, anytime, 24/7 through self-serve. And it addressed stress on the patient because it eliminates wait time and travel time and costs.”

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