- ONC says monitoring HIE governance 'a wise approach'
- Health IT attracts new students on campus
- ONC seeks reusable approach to future NHIN services
- ONC prepares NHIN 'governance' rulemaking
- ONC finds exchange standards hard to nail
- Health data exchange build starts this summer
- ONC revamps for the road ahead
- ONC unveils 'popHealth' for EHR-based quality reporting
- Federal health IT office extends study of state information sharing
- The Power of User Virtualization: Meeting Meaningful Use, Optimizing IT and Clinical Productivity
- Futureproofing Healthcare with Converged Medical Infrastructure
- The State of EHR Adoption: On The Road to Improving Patient Safety
- Your Cloud in Healthcare - How to Use the Cloud to Achieve Greater Business Agility
- Palomar Health Choses EXTENSION's Alert Management Software Solution
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has made available technical descriptions and guidance for its more automated version of the Blue Button feature aimed at giving patients easier access and use of their health information.
ONC announced in a Jan. 16 webinar an initial draft implementation guide for Blue Button Plus (+), a rebranding of its Automated Blue Button Initiative, so vendors and others can begin to incorporate the feature in their health IT system updates.
Blue Button+ will help providers meet requirements for meaningful use stage 2 because it incorporates in their certified electronic health records (EHRs) the function for view, download and transmit information for patients, said Lygeia Ricciardi, acting director of ONC’s Office of Consumer Health.
“But it goes beyond that, most notably by automating the information update functions for them,” she said at the webinar sponsored by the National eHealth Collaborative.
Any provider, developer or others may access the technical guides to accelerate a growing ecosystem of tools to help patients participate in and manage their care, especially through easier, secure access to their health information, Ricciardi said. The health IT tools also enhance communications between patients and their physicians and improve care coordination.
Blue Button+ is being advanced through ONC’s Standards & Implementation Framework community. The full draft implementation guide will be launched by the end of this month, said Pierce Graham-Jones, Innovator in Residence at the Health and Human Services Department, and a member of the S&I community working on the project.
The draft implementation guidance includes how to transmit data to patients in structured format, how to transmit data to patients using Direct secure messaging protocol, and a privacy and security piece.
“We’re working with our first big data holders and their vendors to follow this guidance and implement this into their EHRs by the time of the HIMSS13 conference in early March. You’ll see more from them and ONC at HIMSS13,” he said.
Blue Button, which was started in the Veterans Affairs Department, has been an unstructured ASCII text document, a simple download mechanism. Because of its potential, official ownership of Blue Button has moved from VA to the Health and Human Services Department, which is going “to try to take it nationwide and build functions and features in the Blue Button Plus to make it really appealing,” Ricciardi said.
Blue Button + focuses on two use cases as models “for how we want to evolve the brand to give meaningful data access to consumers,” Graham-Jones said.
One is a push model to transmit the consumer’s structured health data to a location of their choosing, and the other is pull, using a RESTful interface or web service to allow a consumer application to access the consumer’s data on their behalf.
The implementation guide for these two use cases has involved 68 organizations, including most major EHR vendors, payers, VA, ONC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, he said.
ONC has identified standards for a patient clinical summary and advanced an automated information update through the push and pull models, according to Henry Wei, Presidential Innovation Fellow at VA. With automation, apps can receive this data without the process needed today.
“It’s a painstaking task of manually updating your services and pulling down your data and then pushing it to a location,” he said.
Blue Button+ will also be able to combine data streams from multiple sources, like insurers, physicians and pharmacies, “so you can pull all your health data together in a much more simple fashion,” Wei said.