About Blue Button
What is Blue Button?
"Blue Button" is a way for you to get easy, secure online access to your health information. To "Blue Button" means you can "download your health data" so you can use it to improve your health and be more engaged in your healthcare. As Americans, we each have the legal right to access our own health information held by doctors, hospitals and others that provide health care services for us. But many of us don't, either because we don't know we can, or because we're not sure what to do with our health information once we have it. Until recently, most medical information was stored in paper files, so it wasn't very easy to access or use anyhow. But all that is changing as more health care providers (doctors and hospitals) adopt electronic health record systems and other health information technology (health IT). Patients will have more opportunities to get access to their health records electronically and to engage with their clinical teams about their medical records.
What are the benefits of Blue Button?
America's health care system is rapidly going digital, and health care providers, insurance companies and others are starting to give patients and consumers access to their health information electronically through "Blue Button". Being able to access your health information on demand can be lifesaving in an emergency situation, can help prevent medication errors, and can improve care coordination so everyone who is caring for you is on the same page. As a result of Blue Button, many patients can now electronically access the vital health information they need such as current medications and drug allergies, claims and treatment data, and lab results. They can securely access and download that information and share it with people they trust. Increasingly, they can also plug their health data into mobile apps and other tools that help them to better understand their health, prevent illness, and modify their own behaviors in healthy ways. Study after study shows that engaged patients recover more quickly, and stay healthy longer.
How can I "Blue Button" or download my health information?
Today, Blue Button is available to Veterans, uniformed service members, and Medicare beneficiaries, and almost a million people have downloaded their own health information. Other federal agencies and many companies in the private sector such as UnitedHealthCare1 and Aetna2, are also offering their beneficiaries or members a way to "Blue Button" or download their health data. Many people in the U.S. still don't have easy, electronic access to their health information, and many don't know that the Federal government has taken a large step towards solving that problem. More and more health care providers, health plans, pharmacies, labs and others are giving patients easy-to-use tools to securely access, reliably download, and conveniently share their own health information. We encourage you to ask your health care provider, health plans, pharmacies and others if you can download your own health information and use it to better manage your health and engage in your healthcare!