Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Can Veterans Download All Medical Records?

In his State of the Union address President Obama said "Veterans can now download their
electronic medical records with the click of a mouse."

Well this is not quite accurate. A veteran can only download certain records. Mainly those records
are what the veteran has entered himself/herself, such as blood pressure weight and heart rate. Also
emergency contact information, test results, family health history, military health history and other
health related information. This would be the kind of information you would enter on the forms
when you visit a specialist. P

By using the patient's Veterans Health Administration's Electronic Health Records (VistA) a
veteran can download information about prescription records, wellness reminders and past
and future appointments.

You are not able to access medical records such as doctor's notes, or X-rays.

While the Blue Button at present does not allow access to all records, it is a very important
step, and will continue to grow as more records are added.

Peter L. Levin chief technology officer and co-creator of the Blue Button said "We are on a
steady path, capturing more and more information from VistA and putting it into

In March the VA will add information on allergies, and soon the Blue Button will offer
access to lab results such as hematology and chemistry.

So not all records are yet available, the VA is still working on the Blue Button, and as veterans
request more information, it will be added to the records that will be available.

It is not yet the magic button, but given more time it will be just what every veteran
needs, a complete medical record.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996