Blue Button Technology: Empowering Patients

Blue Button technology, an electronic link gives patients the ability to download his or her entire medical history from their service provider’s EHR site, is soon to be made a standard feature available to all federal healthcare recipients.  First implemented in the trailblazing Veterans’ Administration My HealtheVet EHR system, the technology is a huge step forward in patient empowerment.

Any patient registered in the system is able to immediately download all the information they’ve ever provided onto their computer or cellphone in the form of an easy-to-use text file. Furthermore, the data is not only restricted to allergies, prescriptions, and other core “Meaningful Use” requirements. The veterans’ system includes military service records and other information relevant to a job search.

All recipients of federal healthcare will soon have this ability. Stephen J. Downs, the chief technology and information officer at the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, wrote in a post on the Huffington Post Blog that, “to improve outcomes on a broad scale, we need to empower individuals to become active participants in their care.”Broad federal and private adoption of blue button technology is certainly a step in that direction.

What are the implications for being able to access, store and share your medical information easily and securely?

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