Last week, the Markle Foundation -- a New York-based not-for-profit organization -- published a paper encouraging HHS to make access to personal health records a priority in the department's health IT efforts, Healthcare IT News reports.
The recommendations are being made as the Department of Veterans Affairs and Medicare are launching "blue buttons" that will allow individuals to download their medical information or claims data in a common format from the MyHealtheVet and MyMedicare websites (Merrill, Healthcare IT News, 8/31).
VA's Blue Button
The blue button for veterans, which began working last week, enables users either to print or save their health information on a flash drive or computer, and then share that information with health care providers.
To develop the button, VA collaborated with:
- the Department of Defense; and
- the Markle Foundation.
Medicare's Blue Button
CMS officials are preparing to launch a blue button for Medicare beneficiaries in October (Mosquera, Government Health IT, 8/31).
Blue Button Recommendations
Markle's privacy and security recommendations for the blue button include:
- Providing a clear description of the download function and its implications for the patient;
- Providing links that enable patients to view additional information about the download process; and
- Obtaining independent confirmation from individuals who seek to download their health information (Healthcare IT News, 8/31).
In addition, the report said that future "meaningful use" incentives, as well as health information exchanges, should include a requirement that electronic health records offer some kind of download capability (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 9/1).