Blue Button Expands Access To Include CCDs, OpenNotes

Jennifer Bresnick | EHR Intelligence | January 30, 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been lavishing attention on its successful Blue Button initiative in January, and has just announced the addition of several new features to the patient portal. In addition to overhauling its user interface and expanding its technical development, the VA is giving its patients access to continuity of care documents (CCD), as well as integrating an OpenNotes feature, which allows patients to view physician documentation.

“We are excited to introduce these new features of VA Blue Button, advancing the quality health care we give Veterans daily. The paradigm of patient-centered care means fully engaging patients in their health and care,” said Undersecretary for Health Robert A. Petzel, MD. “Enabling patients to have better access to their health information is an important step in supporting them as active partners.”

In 2011, HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park defended Blue Button’s initial focus on plain text, asserting that it was necessary to “liberate the data” immediately, giving VA patients access to their records without waiting for structured data standards to be widely adopted. [...]