White House names 18 innovators for Blue Button, digital projects

Mary Mosquera | Government Health IT | August 24, 2012

The White House named 18 Presidential Innovation Fellows, the first set of proven private sector innovators chosen to bring their expertise to work for the government in Washington, D.C., for six months on five high-impact projects using electronic data and tools. The projects are related to health data access, online business practices, electronic payments and making more federal data computer readable, according to Todd Park, White House chief technology officer, during the Aug. 23 announcement.

One of those projects is spreading the capability of Blue Button, a feature that enables patients to download their own health information to their computer or personal health record. Currently, individuals who receive their health care through the Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments and Medicare have access to Blue Button. And health plans that serve federal employees will also begin to offer the feature.

The Obama administration wants to speed up its availability among private health plans and payers, where it is just emerging. One million veterans have downloaded their information. But the goal is “how do we take it to 10 million next year and 100 million two years from now,” said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, national health IT coordinator, who spoke at the White House event...