Convert your FHIR JSON -> XML and back here. The CDA Book is sometimes listed for Kindle here and it is also SHIPPING from Amazon! See here for Errata.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Automate the BlueButton

This crossed my desk last night. This is clearly a follow up from Not-So-Secret White House Meetings.  If you put this together with the IHE mHealth profile, and perhaps the RHEx OAuth/OpenID profiles, it seems this could get done pretty quickly.

We invite you to join a volunteer effort to “automate the Blue Button” and develop standards and specifications that would allow patients to not only download their health information to their personal computer, but also to privately and securely automate the sending of that data to their preferred holding place.  This initiative will kick-off with a webinar on Wednesday, August 15th from 4:00 – 5:00PM Eastern

Why? Consumer Access is A Big Priority
At the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), we have been placing increasing emphasis on consumers and patients--empowering them to be partners in their health through information technology. What can consumers do with their health data?
  • Better understand their health and make more informed decisions
  • Help to make sure that they and all of their care team members are on the same page
  • Improve the accuracy and completeness of the information
  • Plug it into apps and tools that promise to make information truly available when and where it’s needed
Underpinning all of these actions is electronic access to health data, which most Americans don’t yet have. But soon access to this information may be a reality for more patients and their family members.

It’s called Blue Button.  Two years ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) added a simple, easy to recognize “Blue Button” to their patient portal (My HealtheVet), which gave individual users the opportunity to download their data to their personal computer.

Since then, the use of Blue Button has grown into a movement – a commitment by many of the country’s largest data holders – including the Federal government – to get personal health information out of proprietary silos and into the hands of the consumers who want a holistic picture of their health and health care.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, TRICARE, United HealthCare, Aetna, and the Department of Defense have all begun offering individual’s own health care data (or will soon offer their data) to their beneficiaries in a printable, downloadable format supported by the Blue Button specifications.  Several hundreds of thousands of veterans, members of the military, and Medicare beneficiaries have already downloaded their data through Blue Button.

Many of you have been direct contributors to this effort through the ONC Pledge Program, the Patient Access Summit, and other avenues, and our thanks go to you for making this important tool available to your members .

Join Us Aug 15: Automating Blue Button Initiative Webinar
Now, ONC and VA are collaborating to take this movement one step further, and we’d like you to join us.

We need experts to develop standards, developers to pilot the technology, innovations to push the envelope, and patients and providers to test that it works. For example, this initiative could enable patients to have their doctors or insurance companies automatically “copy them” on any updates to their personal health information. In another scenario, patients could “subscribe” to feeds that privately and securely send them updates to their health information, much as they currently subscribe to podcasts and news feeds.

The new effort will be a key part of the ONC’s Pledge Program in 2012-2013. It will be run through the Standards and Interoperability (S&I) Framework: a self-organizing, open, collaborative community of volunteers from the public and private sectors who are focused on providing the tools, services, and guidance to facilitate the functional exchange of health information.

Please join us for a webinar on Wednesday August 15, 2012 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM Eastern to learn more about the Automate Blue Button initiative, its charter, and timelines. To register for the webinar, go to

Other Ways to Get Involved
If technical standards aren’t your area of expertise, there will be lots of other opportunities to support consumer engagement via ehealth. Stay tuned for information on a meeting we’re planning in Washington DC on September 10th that will bring together diverse groups of patients, consumer advocates, providers, payers, technology developers and policymakers toward a common goal of empowering patients to electronically access and use their health information to be better partners in their health.

Thanks as always for the great work you are doing and your willingness to collaborate,

Lygeia Ricciardi
Acting Director
Office of Consumer eHealth
Office of the National Coordinator for HIT

Doug Fridsma
Chief Science Officer
Director, Office of Science and Technology
Office of the National Coordinator for HIT


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