U.S. Navy Veteran Maria Womer with MHV Coordinator Lauren Heiger
As part of the new VA Butler Health Care Center’s Communication Plan, the Primary Care PACT Teams created distribution groups in Secure Messaging to announce the move to our new Health Care Center (HCC).
In Secure Messages to patients, staff included information about the new facility and asked Veterans to reply to the Secure Message should they have any questions or comments about our new location. Staff also added an attachment of an HCC flyer that included VA Butler’s new address and a list of features and services available to the Veterans we proudly serve.
Secure Messaging is identified as an appropriate encounter method for Same Day Access and is a new model of care tool for Veterans to: renew VA prescriptions, ask health-related questions, seek medical advice, make or change appointments, communicate non-urgent health concerns/issues, request test results and health information, send self-monitored health updates – and even attach reports and images.
Secure Messages from staff include sending appointment reminders, communicating test results, sharing news and information, becoming an audit trail when unable to reach the Veteran by phone – or simply checking in on a Veteran with a health condition.
Committed to Patient Centered Care
And overall, My HealtheVet users are satisfied which is proof that VA is listening to Veterans and seeking their feedback. Veterans are now seeing more enhancements to the look and feel of the site but with the same functionality of the most frequently-used My HealtheVet features including Secure Messaging.
At VA Butler, we tell our Veterans that with Secure Messaging, they are only ONE MESSAGE AWAY FROM VA and that Secure Messages are ID’ed and time-stamped from the moment the Veteran sends it. This lets the Veteran know that we are committed to patient-centered care.
VA Butler’s Secure Messaging completion rate is less than one day and our escalation rate is less than 2 percent. Our Veterans know that Secure Messaging is a ‘go to’ – not a ‘go away’ tool and a virtual care option for them as well as a compliment to their traditional care options. Connected Care means connecting with our Veterans from where they are and in real-time.
About VA Butler’s Abie Abraham VA Health Care Center
VA Butler Health Care Center, located in Butler County, Pennsylvania has been attending to Veteran’s total care since 1947 and serves over 22,000 Veterans throughout Western Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio
The new Veterans Affairs Butler Health Care Center is named after Abie Abraham, a World War II death march survivor and former POW. Abie volunteered at the VA for 23 years up until his death.
About the author: Lauren Heiger, MS, is a My HealtheVet Coordinator/ Secure Messaging Administrator