VA Seeks To Expand 'Blue Button'

Offers $50,000 Prize for Easing Vets' Ability to Download Records
VA Seeks To Expand 'Blue Button'
The Department of Veterans Affairs is offering a $50,000 prize to a developer who successfully demonstrates the expansion of the use of the "Blue Button" application to enable veterans to download certain patient information from providers outside the VA.

About 350,000 people now use the Blue Button, including 300,000 veterans who use it at the My Healthe Vet portal to download certain information from VA providers, which then can be printed or stored on a computer or portable media (see: VA, Medicare Ease EHR Downloads ). Veterans then can choose to share this data with others.

Medicare beneficiaries also can use the Blue Button to download certain information, along with beneficiaries of the Department of Defense's Tricare program as well as patients in the Military Health System.

"The VA believes all veterans, and not just those who receive all their care from the VA, would benefit from and should have access to a Blue Button personal health record," the VA said in announcing the competition.

To win the prize for the competition, slated to end by Oct. 18, a developer must document a long list of details, including the installation of the Blue Button application on websites used by 25,000 licensed clinical professionals and available for use by all patients, including veterans.

The Blue Button concept, which the Markle Foundation developed in collaboration with other groups, calls for the use of a set of privacy and security policies building on the Markle Common Framework for Networked Health Information.

The Blue Button can help organizations comply with certain federal obligations. Pending modifications to HIPAA, as called for under the HITECH Act, would require healthcare organizations to provide patients with electronic copies of their records. Plus, "meaningful use" requirements for the HITECH Act's electronic health record incentive program require providing patients with electronic copies of their information.

About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

Former News Editor, ISMG

Anderson was news editor of Information Security Media Group and founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.

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