“Blue Button” Program Reaches Millionth User

American Medical News reported that The Department of Veterans Affairs’ patient medical records program “blue button” reached its millionth user last month, two years after its launch.

The program, created in 2010, allows patients to view, print, download, and share their health records. Its “open-source” aspect means it can be used by other technology vendors and be incorporated in their own products.

Electronic health records vendors look to blue book as they prepare for stage 2 of the federal meaningful use incentive program, which requires physicians to offer patients the ability to download their health information and make sure at least 5 percent do just that.

The program’s creation was a collaboration among the VA, the Department of Defense, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Markle Foundation.

The VA and its sister agencies have worked to make online access to records convenient, reliable, and safe, Eric Shinseki, secretary of Veterans Affairs, said in a statement.

Last March, UnitedHealth adopted the system and announced in July their intent to extend the program to all 26 million members by mid-2013.

RelayHealth, a subsidiary of McKesson Corp., won $50,000 in the VA’s August 2011 contest to extend blue-button to the private sector, creating a personal health record system with a blue button and launching the technology on at least 25,000 physicians’ websites.

Posted in Medical Devices.