If you are a provider or hospital eligible for incentives under the MU incentive program, learn how implementing a Blue Button download capability may help your organization meet MU requirements by reading the paper Markle Connecting for Health Comments on Stage 2 Meaningful Use.
Empowering consumers by providing them with convenient and secure access to networked health information is key to transforming America's health care system and improving the health of our nation's citizens. The Markle Foundation has developed a set of recommended policies and practices, known as the Common Framework for Networked Personal Health Information, that are designed to protect consumers, and to guide the organizations that collect, share, and store health information about them. This framework proposes a set of practices that, when taken together, encourage appropriate handling of personal health information as it flows to and from personal health records (PHRs) and similar applications or supporting services. Learn more here.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are providing the public with access to synthetic sample data sets for the purpose of fostering innovation and enabling industry stakeholders to provide feedback for future development. These efforts are intended to further support e-personal health care using open government principles.
Veterans who use VA's My HealtheVet personal health record (PHR) Blue Button offering can download health data they've entered as well as information from the VA electronic health record: prescription medications, lab results, allergies and adverse reactions, and upcoming VA appointments. Because there is so much information available, veterans have the option to structure their Blue Button downloads by date range or data class. Medicare beneficiaries who use Blue Button on MyMedicare.gov can download certain data and information they've entered, such as provider names, pharmacies, allergies, medications, etc., as well as nearly two years of claims history from the Medicare system.
The federal agencies are providing Blue Button data in – quite deliberately – a simple, ASCII text format which can be read on any computer, read on any browser and printed on any printer. Using simple and straightforward parsers and character string recognition utilities, Blue Button ASCII data can be imported into other PHRs and hospital- and physician-based electronic health records. Below we have provided test files for both CMS and VA, which PHR application vendors can download to determine their compatibility, usefulness and usability with various tools:
In 2010, to encourage innovation and make Blue Button information even more useful to individuals, the Markle and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation challenged developers to create applications that expand on the concept's promise by helping consumers use their data to stay healthy and manage their care. Eighteen companies competed for the $2,500 prize, with Adobe's Blue Button Health Assistant emerging as the winner. Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched its own challenge in July 2011 to build a personal health record using their Blue Button format, offering a $50,000 prize to the winning entry. RelayHealth won the $50,000 prize from the VA's "Blue Button for All Americans" contest by making a Blue Button personal health record system available to all patients, including veterans, of more than 25,000 physicians across America.
Blue Button data is as-simple-as-it-gets and is compatible with any computer, browser and printer.
Over six million veterans who receive health care from VA can already download their personal health data using the Blue Button. We want to be sure the 17 million veterans who receive care from non-VA doctors and hospitals can do the same.
Veterans can now expect that downloading their data will be a routine part of the care they receive from VA. We want the general public to think of Blue Button downloads as something they receive from their family doctors as a routine matter.
White House Chief Technology OfficerView more testimonials »