Veterans!  We wanted you to know about an easy-to-use tool that VA doctors and staff have to make your health care more efficient and better coordinated.

VA’s Joint Legacy Viewer (JLV) is a web-based tool that can save both you and your health care provider a lot of time. A feature of JLV gives VA doctors access to some of your non-VA health care records digitally, which is great for you. Your health care providers can make more informed decisions when they are able to see more of your health record information no matter where you get care.

Dr. David Douglas (pictured above), Facility Chief Health Informatics Officer, and his colleagues in Portland, know just how valuable JLV can be to support patient care needs. Dr. Douglas recently reported that JLV is “a game-changer.” It allows VA staff to securely get patient health data with much greater ease from community care providers where a patient is also seen. When describing his recent Alexander Graham Bell moment, Dr. Douglas exclaimed, “Eureka! This discovery gets VA staff (and Veterans) out of the business of using paper and fax processes.”

What does all this mean?

With JLV, VA staff can view patient records from participating community health care partners and from the Department of Defense (DoD) health care system. JLV allows VA staff to see electronic health records for those Veterans who have a signed authorization to allow sharing of data through a program called the VA Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) or the VA eHealth Exchange.

So how does this work?

When a VA provider using JLV enters or refreshes the secure web-tool, JLV picks up documents that were recently shared by DoD or community health care partners for that patient. This query is what allowed Dr. Douglas to “see” his patient’s Discharge Summary from a non-VA hospital. Having access to this data helps VA providers take care of the most urgent needs of Veterans on the spot, without time-consuming phone calls and faxes to try to obtain that same information. Although the initial version of the health summary that can be seen on JLV was not perfect, Dr. Douglas is more than satisfied with it. He points out that it improves patient safety, on top of the efficiency and convenience gains.

According to Dr. Douglas, “I love JLV and use it constantly. I am preaching to other providers to use JLV. Why? Because JLV is available at all VA health care facilities so clinicians can access patient records more confidently and confidentially.”

What does this mean for VA patients?

This is also a game-changer for VA patients. Improvements in the exchange of health data between VA and non-VA providers results in a more complete picture of the patient’s health and medical history. Additionally, the sharing and exchange of health information offers patients a smoother transition between multiple providers. This capability is currently in field testing within My HealtheVet, VA’s online personal health portal.

According to Dr. Kim Nazi, the My HealtheVet Blue Button Project Lead, “The seamless access to data that VLER supports helps us have a more complete patient health record available for patients, helping them make more informed treatment decisions. Patients can, and will, play an important role in making sure that their data is available in the right place at the right time, often just in time.”

For more information about VLER:

Veterans can ensure their care is better coordinated by signing an authorization to allow secure sharing of health information between VA and participating community care providers. The VLER Health authorization (Form 10-0485) is available online at or can be signed in any local VA Release of Information (ROI) office.

By: Stacie Rivera and Treva Lutes

Stacie M. Rivera MPH, APR

Stacie M. Rivera, MPH, APR, is a Public Affairs Specialist with the VHA Office of Informatics and Information Governance.


Treva Lutes

Treva Lutes is a Program Specialist with the VHA Office of Connected Care.


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Published on Dec. 8, 2016

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