VA testing social media through My HealtheVet portal

Don't get us started on the shortfalls of many current personal health records. New ideas, though, we welcome.

With that in mind, we note that the VA has had some success with its My HealtheVet patient portal into the VistA EMR, but is concerned that younger patients--read, computer-savvy service members--want the portal to incorporate more social media.

"Actually we are not meeting their expectations right now, they expect to be able to schedule appointments online and have much more accessibility online than we do today," Gail Graham, the VA's deputy chief officer of healthcare information management, said at a conference in Washington this week. "We are cognizant that their requests and desires are much more advanced and we intend to keep up with those things that they are requesting," Graham added, according to Federal Computer Week.

To this end, the VA is running a pilot of secure messaging at some hospitals and is continuing to hold focus groups with veterans to determine other features patients would like to see.

"Some younger veterans want more of a dialog back and forth, and more access to chat rooms," Graham said "We've done some work with Second Life and other social media sites. We've tried putting up benefits portals where you can virtually kind of walk through the steps that have to be taken to get a benefit."

To learn more about potential upgrades to My HealtheVet:
- check out this Federal Computer Week story