My HealtheVet Program (MHV) is a national program that serves all Veterans, family members, caregivers, VA staff, and VA health care providers. MHV (www.myhealth.va.gov) is a web-based personal health record (PHR) that provides access to trusted health information, links to Federal and VA benefits and resources, a comprehensive personal health journal, and online requests for VA prescription refills. Moreover, MHV offers Veterans an opportunity to participate as partners with clinicians in their health care. Researchers are interested in supporting MHV and this project and investigating the data infrastructure that would enable a more effective collaboration between the My HealtheVet Program Office and VA researchers.
The two goals of this project were to identify data elements collected as part of MHV and create a survey to augment these data, and develop a standardized process for enabling researchers to support MHV.
This was a formative study involving bi-weekly phone calls with Veterans and Consumers Health Informatics Office. We also had phone calls with representatives from Patient Care Services, the VHA Office of Information, the VA Office of Information and Technology (OI&T), and the VA Privacy Office.
The Veterans and Consumers Health Informatics Office has expressed strong interest in building relationships with VA researchers. Similarly, workshops at the HSR&D and QUERI national meeting were well attended by researchers interested in studying MHV. Building the bridge between MHV operations and research has been slower than anticipated. At first, we believed researchers would be able to analyze how Veterans were using MHV. We learned that while VA manages MHV, the VA considers the Veteran the data owner. Therefore, VA researchers cannot access these data without the express consent of each individual Veteran. We then learned that VA generates three log files to support Veterans use of MHV. These log files are owned by VA and can be accessed by OI&T staff: Efforts are currently underway to enable researchers to access these log files.
This formative project generated three notable impacts. We contributed to the publication of a paper in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. We participated in workshops at the HSR&D National Meeting and the QUERI National Meeting in 2008. Drs. Wagner and Weingardt continue to participate in MHV committees and support the linkage of research and MHV.
- McInnes DK, Gifford AL, Kazis LE, Wagner TH. Disparities in health-related internet use by US veterans: results from a national survey. Informatics in primary care. 2010 Jun 15; 18(1):59-68.
- Nazi KM, Hogan TP, Wagner TH, McInnes DK, Smith BM, Haggstrom D, Chumbler NR, Gifford AL, Charters KG, Saleem JJ, Weingardt KR, Fischetti LF, Weaver FM. Embracing a health services research perspective on personal health records: lessons learned from the VA My HealtheVet system. Journal of general internal medicine. 2010 Jan 1; 25 Suppl 1:62-7.
- Wagner TH, Nazi KM, Charters , Weingardt. Research and My HealtheVet. Presented at: VA HSR&D National Meeting; 2008 Feb 13; Baltimore, MD.