CMS Goes Live with Blue Button - With Life and Cost Saving Applications for 53 Million Americans to Use

Bettina ExpertonOn August 13 at the White House in Washington, D.C., the Office of American Innovation and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will host the first Blue Button 2.0 conference. This event will highlight CMS’ strong investment and leadership in Blue Button as a patient driven means for interoperability, cost-effective care and patient safety.

Eight years after President Obama’s announcement of the Blue Button initiative to give Veterans, military beneficiaries and Medicare beneficiaries “easy access to their health information” with the use of a “Blue Button”, CMS Administrator Seema Verma took action with “Blue Button 2.0” so that 53 million Medicare beneficiaries can now make use of CMS approved patient facing Blue Button applications, turning a four-year history of claim data into actionable longitudinal health records to prevent costly medical errors, unnecessary redundant care or other harmful and wasteful care.

Every year, between 200,000 and 400,000 Americans die from preventable medical errors and many of these are due to a lack of information at the point of care, leading to delayed treatment, diagnostic or therapeutic errors, adverse drug reactions, costly redundant tests and procedures, and preventable hospitalizations.

Most of these preventable and life-threatening medical errors affect older Americans who are more likely to be on multiple medications and suffer from multiple chronic conditions, which are too often unknown or partially known, given that on average a Medicare beneficiary sees seven different physicians in a year, most of whom don’t have access to their patients’ outside medical records.

This is when a four-year, single payer claim history coming from Medicare becomes a life-saving tool for information sharing at the point of care for and by a digitally empowered patient.

At Humetrix, our health services researchers, physicians and software developers have worked with Medicare claim data to turn them into analytic tools and actionable information in the hands of patients and their healthcare providers for more than 20 years.

Mobile technology, federal open data policies and now the decisive action taken by the CMS leadership have allowed us to be in the position to place in the hands of 53 million Medicare beneficiaries or their family caregivers the life and cost saving tool they need.

In April, the Humetrix iBlueButton mobile application was the first CMS approved mobile application for use of its Blue Button 2.0 API. On August 13, we will be honored to demonstrate our 8.0 version of iBlueButton application, whose original version has won three ONC Industry Innovation awards.

The most significant of the awards Humetrix received was when our iBlueButton mobile platform first transformed Medicare Blue Button claim data into an actionable longitudinal health record, on the user’s own mobile device, secure and private with life-saving information immediately accessible. This was five years ago!

Now in its 8.0 version, the new Medicare Blue Button API enabled iBlueButton, which will be showcased at the upcoming CMS Blue Button conference, will highlight the power of Medicare claim data when these are turned into an actionable medical history with data driven insights and placed in the hands of millions to truly transform healthcare!

Looking forward to seeing many of you at the White House on August 13!

Bettina Experton, MD, MPH, is the CEO of Humetrix