430K veterans press the Blue Button to retrieve health info

More than 430,000 veterans have used the Blue Button of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to download their personal health claims data, according to Todd Park, chief technology officer of the Department of Health and Human Services.

At a conference address in Washington, D.C., Park said that the VA had privately projected that no more than 25,000 veterans would press the Blue Button.

Park said that a number of private companies have contacted federal agencies, asking about the logistics of the Blue Button and whether they would violate any privacy laws if they made their claims data available to patients. They were told that federal privacy statutes permitted this, he noted.

To date, Aetna, UnitedHealth Group, and Walgreens all have created Blue Buttons allowing their members and customers to download their own claims data. Both Aetna and UnitedHealthcare also offer personal health records to members.

Recently, RelayHealth, a McKesson unit that provides secure clinical messaging, began offering patients access to data on medications and lab results and other information made available by their providers.

To learn more:
- read the article on the Blue Button in iHealthBeat
- see the story on RelayHealth in Health Data Management