Blue Button: Driving a Patient-Centered Revolution in Health Care

Steve Downs | Robert Wood Johnson Foundation | September 13, 2011

A lot can happen in a year. Last October,  I wrote about a promising new offering for people looking to take control of their own health and health care decisions. Known as "blue button," this simple (but rather revolutionary) technology offers individuals the ability to download their own health information with just the click of a mouse. They can then use and share this information however they may choose -- with doctors, care providers, or even third-party applications designed to help them track and make sense of their own personal data.

Born out of a collaborative working group convened by the Markle Foundation, the blue button was beta-tested and then implemented by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The immediate demand from their patients and beneficiaries was inspiring...