December 15, 2006

Patients can now name delegate to access My Health information

Featured Image

William Byrd III, M.D., an anesthesiology resident, center, and Matthew Weinger, M.D., of anesthesiology, talk with Melody Flores, R.N., about handing off a patient from the recovery room to an inpatient room.
Photo by Dana Johnson

Patients can now name delegate to access My Health information

Each day, patients log on to My Health at Vanderbilt ( to read lab results and radiology reports from their electronic medical record, ask their physician a question, receive messages from their health care team, schedule clinic appointments, review and pay their hospital and clinic bills and find articles about chronic illness and disease prevention.

Users of the Web site can now give a spouse, adult child or any other adult access to their account. This new service is called delegate access.

“Users have been asking for this feature. As our patients work through health care decisions, this new service gives them a powerful new means to share detailed personal health information with whomever they wish,” said Sue Muse, project administrator.

“For example, a patient might chose to give a doctor from an outside facility access to his account.”

“When the patient gives access to a delegate, he is giving that person permission to view all personal health information available through the patient's own account,” said Jim Jirjis, M.B.A., M.D., project chair for My Health at Vanderbilt and chief medical information officer for outpatient clinics.

The patient can also choose to give the delegate access to messaging; this gives the delegate and the patient's Vanderbilt provider the permission and means to communicate about the patient through the site's secure electronic messaging feature. (Messages from patients and delegates don't go directly to providers, but instead go to the appropriate staff member for sorting and forwarding, just as phone calls do.)

“The patient accepts full responsibility for giving and removing access,” Muse said. “The patient has the ability to remove delegate access to any function at any time.”

Jirjis stressed that giving someone delegate access to your account does not involve giving them your user ID and password. In addition to permission from the patient, would-be delegates must register as site users (

“We want to strongly discourage people from giving anyone their password,” he said.

Delegate access sets the stage for the upcoming rollout of My Health at Vanderbilt to pediatric patients and their parents.