The Blue Button Initiative: Opening Access to Health Records

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At the highest level is this concept of patients empowerment through access to health data. This patients dimension what is going on is perhaps the most exciting. Right the whole idea that this mineral pole is not just tuning into electrons, right they are turning into electrons that eyes of the patient can actually get and I can show people that fast and of course Blue Button, Blue Button movement is the epicenter of that action.

The Blue Button initiative really started in 2010, when a veterans administration put a little Blue Button symbol on their patient portal for veterans, which meant you can click this button and you can get an electronic download of your health information. What is your health information your health book like? The list of medications this usually a list of your condition and basic information about you and your health history.

So veterans really loved it and they started to really use that service so much so that others took notice. The department of defence, the vendors for medicare and medicaid services also has a lot of health information to share. They serve through medicare about 40 million Americans.

This idea was taking off. There's all kinds of [xx] look better from patients mean better outcome for those patients, right? And so it's all kind of invention happening. They try to take this data and information to put it in the health of the patients. They are actually make the best doctor for their family.

Whereas they can actually understand better how to heckle [XX] with the gun [XX]. Alright so that they can be actually be a better and more involved partner in their own care. It seem so simple. It was really a way of crystallizing this idea of consumer getting access to their own information and again and being powered by it.

So, couple of years later, we have the department of health and human services working closely with white house that's great! We think that this is something that shouldn't be available just to folks who are maybe serve by the government. We really want to be Nationwide. It's of paramount important to protect major [XX], paramount importance.

And the principle at the heart of Blue Button is that I as a patient right, I can get secure access to my own data. You're just pulling a record from entities that already hold them. This actually relatively we have to clarify. Hitler actually says, patients have a right to their own data, right? This is [xx], it's formidable and then we further more have clarified this, I recently said that includes getting a copy of your own electronic information.

When we talk about health data, we often talk about the health record that your doctor had, but there's health information about you in lots of different places. Your health plan knows what kind of procedures you had and what they cost. You've got clinical data as well as financial data in there.

In someways the crux of the most useful data for many people is from pharmacy. What medications are you taking? How long have you been taking them? What are the ones you actually ordered and picked up which is more accurate in many cases a picture of what you're actually taking than what your doctor described.

What you do with it is up to you. Some folks will put it in a depository. Some will call it a personal health record. Others will choose to forward to another doctor to co-ordinate there care or maybe again to another care giver in the family, like your kid or your husband or your mother.

Others will plug it into an athen or an App or tool that helps them analyze it. It's a patients' data, that's the thing. The principle that actually sits at the heart of the whole Blue Button movement right? Is that patients should be able to get secure access to their own information, to their own data, and that irascible principle I think is one which if we follow as a country can help unlock all kinds of goods for patients.