Guidance Aims To Boost Blue Button

Joseph Conn | | January 23, 2013

Last year, former White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra said there would be a bigger Blue Button in the future. That future would be now. Technical guidance for developers to expand the functionality—and, it is hoped, the use—of the Blue Button secure-messaging protocol has been posted to the website

“With this implementation guidance, we are evolving the requirements associated with the Blue Button. Data holders (such as providers and payers, and their vendors) and receivers (such as PHRs and other apps and services) that choose to follow this guidance will be known as providing 'Blue Button+' to their users,” according to the website.

What became known as Blue Button started as an effort three years ago within the Veterans Affairs Department to afford patients of the VA healthcare system and technologically simple way of accessing copies of their healthcare records. The VA configured its VistA electronic health records system to produce copies in the plain-vanilla ASCII file format with the press of a button on their VistA-linked personal health record. The color of the button was, of course, blue...