The Office of Personnel Management has asked all health insurance carriers in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program to add the Blue Button to their websites.
The Blue Button will allow patients to view and download their personal health data. The program has already been wildly successful in the Department of Veterans Affairs as more than 500,000 veterans have adopted the program in 14 months.
“Blue Button empowers hundreds of thousands of patients with their own data,” said Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. “We want federal employees, their families – and the general public – to benefit from easy access to Blue Button downloads as it rapidly scales to become a routine service in the care delivery system.”
Blue Button downloads are delivered in text files that can be downloaded to nearly any computer without special software. Patients can also authorize use of a Blue Button transfer of their records from physician to physician.
“All health plans already have claims and personal health information in their databases, and virtually all FEHBP health plans currently offer a personal health record to their members,” said OPM Director John Berry. “Adding Blue Button will make these records more readable, more accessible, and more useful to patients and families. This easy access to lab results, medication and problem lists, allergies, appointment data and wellness reminders makes care both easier and better.”
Added VA Chief Technology Officer Peter Levin, “Blue Button is about patient-centered care. It is a very simple file that can be securely downloaded to any computer or smartphone without special software.”
More information about the Blue Button function is available at www.va.gov/bluebutton. To view the Carrier Letter on Blue Button see www.opm.gov/carrier/carrier_letters/cltrs2011.asp. The OPM report on use of Health Information Technology by FEHBP carriers can be downloaded here (.pdf).