The Blue Button Initiative, a public-private collaboration between the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), the White House, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Department of Defense, and multiple private sector organizations, recently launched a Blue Button Toolkit to help health care organizations provide consumers with access to their electronic health information.

The Blue Button is a symbol indicating that consumers can view and download their health records electronically.  The goal of Blue Button is to “engage and empower consumers and patients through electronic access to their own health information in a format they can use to better manage and improve their health and healthcare.”  Several federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs, have already implemented Blue Button technology for their beneficiaries. 

The Blue Button Toolkit provides resources to organizations such as hospitals and doctors’ offices, health plans, pharmacies, labs, Electronic Health Record vendors, consumer app developers, and consumer and patient advocacy organizations to adopt Blue Button technology to help consumers access their digital health information.

The toolkit provides the following resources:

  • Technical guidelines and approaches for sharing electronic health information with consumers;
  • Protocols for the secure exchange of patient information, and;
  • Marketing materials to help organizations communicate the benefits of electronic access to medical records.