Navigating the health care process can be overwhelming for patients, especially when big decisions have to be made. But with the right information, the process becomes much more manageable. That’s the idea behind Health Literacy Month, which just came to a close in October. It’s also the purpose of My HealtheVet, our online medical records system.
This program gives Veterans access to key information such as laboratory results, vital signs, clinical notes and other helpful personal medical data. Not only does it enhance communication between patients and their doctors, it improves their overall satisfaction with their care. And it’s been that way ever since My HealtheVet was a pilot program several years ago.
During that early stage, we led a study that evaluates the satisfaction of thousands of Veterans we enrolled in the program. Among the many major benefits cited by participants were an improved understanding of and greater insight into their own care. The study also found that having access to doctors’ notes helps patients better assess their medical options and ask more precise questions during appointments. In turn, the health care process becomes more collaborative – a partnership between those providing and those receiving care.
To see how else VA is improving health literacy among Veterans, visit www.va.gov.