Blue Button

Organization: US Veterans Association

Country: USA

Forum: Patient engagement

The Blue Button Program was launched in August 2010 by US Department of Veterans Affairs to enable patients to access their health records online. The program encourages data holders to provide individuals and their caregivers secure, timely and electronic access to their health information and use it to improve their health and care.

The Blue Button is an icon which is featured on websites. By clicking on the button, patients can download their health information, including digital health records and insurance claims, in a number of formats. Increasing access to health information is designed to empower patients to become partners in their own health and take a more active role in self-managing their health and making treatment decisions.

The program is supported by the Blue Button Pledge, which can be made by both data holders and non-data holders. Data holders pledge to “make it easier for individuals and their caregivers to have secure, timely, and electronic access to their health information”. Non-data holders pledge to “engage and empower individuals to be partners in their health through information technology.”

As of 2013, over 450 organizations had taken this pledge, enabling more than one million patients to use the Blue Button to download their health data.

The program has since been transferred to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.