Blue Button for Health Data

Posted by Public Policy Lab
Adobe's app for Blue Button health data.

Adobe's app for Blue Button health data.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have been collaborating on an initiative called “The Blue Button,” which is intended to give beneficiaries access to their health and claims information in a portable electronic format. According to a recent White House blog post

Veterans who log onto My HealtheVet at and click the Blue Button can save or print information from their own health records. Using a similar Blue Button, Medicare beneficiaries who are registered users of can log onto a secure site where they can save or print their Medicare claims and self-entered personal information. Data from of each site can be used to create portable medical histories that will facilitate dialog with Veterans’ and beneficiaries’ health care providers, caregivers, and other trusted individuals or entities.

In a nice bit of public-private crowd sourcing, two health care foundations (the Robert Wood Johnson and the Markle) launched a contest  for innovative apps that make use of the Blue Button data. The prize went to Adobe’s Blue Button Health Assistant, which

combines the intuitive real-time interface of Adobe AIR technology with the benefits of the secure, auditable, and ubiquitous PDF format (leveraging PDF-Healthcare Best Practices) regardless of the user’s platform, browser, or device.