Blue Button Sees 2013 Enhancements through Development and Codeathon

Blue Button

Blue Button Updates

Seems fitting on Veterans Day that we talk about the latest updates and news on the Blue Button. The Blue Button Initiative was launched in August 2010 in an effort to accelerate patient access to their health records. The button allows patients to download their personal health information from their MyHealthVet account to their computers, smart phones, thumb drives and more. The initiative plays an integral part in enhancing our veterans access to their personal health records.  This year a number of new modifications were made to the VA Blue Button.  Listed on the VA’s site is a rundown of major enhancements made to the VA Blue Button in 2013:

  • More timely access to information (reduced ‘hold periods’ for several VA data classes from 7 calendar days to 3 calendar days). These changes were also made to the VA CCD in the My HealtheVet 12.5.1 Release on July 2, 2013
  • Expansion of the types of self-reported information that all registered users can include in their VA Blue Button: My Goals (Current Goals/Completed Goals)
  • Improved performance for the Blue Button data refresh process
  • Enhanced data refresh status message with link to a user friendly description to enhance understanding
  • Enhanced user interface which includes information about business rules for VA data classes
  • Improved user message when no records match selection criteria
  • Minor formatting improvements for Blue Button output

Blue Button Codeathon – Games Making a Difference

In September, the Health 2.0 confab in San Francisco showcased the Blue Button Codeathon: Unlocking Data and Empowering Patients, an ONC-hosted event. The Codethon brought together developers, designers, providers and others for a two day marathon of Blue Button designing and coding with an emphasis on patient empowerment. Apps had to be built and submitted in 36 hours or less, along two tracks.  The winners and their apps are listed below from the HealthITBuzz blog:

Blue Button & Patient Generated Health Data Track Winners:

  • Edge Interns: Provides a safe and user-friendly environment for patient health evaluations, allowing doctors to schedule appointments, create medication reminders, and monitor patient health remotely.
  • Light Hearts: Creates a congestive heart failure workflow for patients after they are discharged from the hospital, with the goals of promoting patient engagement through mobile and connected devices. It also helps prevent hospital readmissions.
  • Patient Watch: Gathers patient data from wearable devices to track physiological changes, such as blood pressure or heart rate, and alerts the patient’s doctor through the EHR if there is a potential adverse drug reaction or complication due to a procedure indicated by vital sign fluctuations.

Financial Information & Explanation of Benefits Track Winners

  • WTF! Denied?: Extracts data from the patient’s Explanation of Benefits and presents it to patients in a redesigned, easy to understand layout, and allows patients to interact with each other in an online forum dedicated to resolving EOB issues.
  • MintMD: Consolidates, manages, and verifies patients’ healthcare cost information from multiple sources, including health insurance claims data, provider bills, insurance statements, and the patients’ Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account.
  • Archimedes: Helps patients make informed purchasing decisions on California’s Health Insurance Exchange by combining patient health data with advanced analytics to deliver personalized, ranked insurance plans. The tool helps patients sort through the information about all available plans and choose one that best suits them and their family.

HL7 also blogged about the Codethon, writing “Code-a-thons are the gamification of product development, played out over a weekend by a not-so-massive, open and real-world group of people. People play, learn and get to know each other over problems that matter with a chance for recognition for their efforts, live and in person.”  The HL7 piece goes into further detail on why gaming in healthcare matters.  It’s interesting stuff.  Read the full article.