On August 2, 2010, President Obama announced the Blue Button capability that allows veterans and Medicare beneficiaries to download their personal health information by a simple click of a blue button.
Medicare beneficiaries can download their Blue Button data at Medicare.gov. After you have saved it, you can import that same file into other computer-based personal health management tools.
Veterans can access the VA Blue Button via the My HealtheVet website at http://www.myhealth.va.gov/
My HealtheVet is VA's Personal Health Record portal which enables Veterans to manage their personal health information and provides authenticated Veterans with access to selected data from VA's Electronic Health Record system, VistaA. My HealtheVet also providesonline Prescription Refill requests and Secure Messaging with a growing number of VA health care teams. The VA Blue Button provides a simple, secure, and convenient way for Veterans to access and download their available personal health information.
With the VA Blue Button, Veterans can download and save or share a single file that contains all of the personal health information they've self-entered including:
- Demographic information
- Emergency Contact information
- Health Care Providers
- Health Insurance
- Treatment Facilities
- Medical conditions and personal medical history
- Medications, herbals, and supplements
- Allergies and adverse reactions
- Lab and test results
- Vitals and Readings
- Family Health History (Self and Relatives)
- Military health history
- Health data such as blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, etc.
- Any other health-related information the Veteran feels a doctor or hospital might need to know
Veterans who are receiving medications from VA can download their VA medication history.
VA patients who have enrolled in the enhanced (In Person Authenticated) version of My HealtheVet can also download data from their VistA Electronic Health Record including:
- VA Wellness Reminders
- VA Appointments
- VA Allergies
- VA Chemistry and Hematology Lab Results
Veterans can customize their download by selecting the types of information to include and/or the date rang, and by choosing the format of the file (plain or Adobe PDF)
VA continues to incrementally make more data downloadable using the VA Blue Button. Since January 2011, VA has added VA Appointments, VA Allergies, and soon VA Laboratory Results.
Using the Blue Button
The downloadable Blue Button is an ASCII text file, the easiest and simplest electronic text format. Click here to view a Blue Button sample file.
VA Blue Button information can be viewed, printed, or loaded onto a Veteran's computer or portable storage device such as a smart phone or flash drive. Veterans can choose to share their Blue Button information with medical providers outside of the VA, or just keep it handy in case they have to go to an emergency room, get urgent care, or see a new specialist. Having control of this information enables patients to share this data with health care providers, caregivers, or people they trust.
VA Blue Button information can make a big difference in a medical emergency. Having quick access to a patient's medications, allergies (especially to medications), key medical history and emergency contact information can save a life.
VA Blue Button information also makes it easier for Veterans who see a doctor outside VA's medical system. This information can help healthcare providers avoid duplicate procedures or tests, potentially saving time and money.
Launching the VA Blue Button is one more step in keeping VA's promise to improve service to those who have served their country. It is one of several new VA programs that will empower Veterans to take more control over their health, the care they receive and the VA benefits they have earned.
The VA Blue Button is one of many government-wide initiatives. VA is working collaboratively with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Defense to make Blue Button technology available to all government health plan beneficiaries in a common format.
Blue Button Health Assistant
Blue Button Health Assistant helps you securely download and interact with your personal health information online. Designed with Adobe Air technology, Health Assistant was the winner of the Blue Button Developers’ Challenge Award. Watch a 13-minute demonstration of the tool.
Microsoft HealthVault is another PHR that can be used with the Blue Button. View how the HealthVault tool can help you manage your personal health information.
Blue Button FAQ
View Frequently Asked Questions about the Blue Button, or visit the CMS Blue Button website for more information.