'Blue Button' Technology May Give You More Control Of Your Health Information

Bill Toland | Siox City Journal | June 28, 2013

Get a group of tech-savvy physicians and electronic medical records experts in a room, ask them about the way forward, and the subject of the Blue Button is sure to come up.

The Blue Button is "about taking personal control of your health information, if you want to do so," said Christopher Rasmussen of the Center for Democracy and Technology. It is "basically an information exchange between the provider and patient."

At its heart, the Blue Button initiative is about health data -- your health data. Right now, unless you are an extremely meticulous note-keeper, most of your health data -- physicians visited, diagnoses, lab tests, recent prescriptions and more -- are housed by doctors and health insurers, on computers and servers and, in some cases, in manila folders.

But giving a patient access to his own health data has the potential to empower the patient, Rasmussen said, and allows him or her to steer health records from an old provider to a new one, for the purposes of getting a second opinion, for example.