UnitedHealthcare expands Blue Button access to 12 million members

UnitedHealthcare is continuing to roll out the "Blue Button" application to its members so they can download personal health records, based mainly on claims data. Following a pilot in March that made the Blue Button available to 500,000 people in UnitedHealthcare's Nevada plans, the insurer announced this week that 12 million people in its employer-sponsored plans will now have Blue Button access, as well.

By the end of the year, UnitedHealthcare said, it plans to give all 26 million of its members Blue Button access to their personal health records.

The Department of Veterans Affairs launched the Blue Button in 2010 to allow veterans to download their records in a standardized format. To date, more than one million veterans and Medicare beneficiaries, including non-veterans, have taken advantage of the Blue Button.

About 60 public and private-private sector entities are now using the Blue Button, too, including Aetna, Kaiser Permanente, McKesson and Microsoft HealthVault.

Roger Baker, CIO of the Department of Veterans Affairs, predicted in December 2011 that by the end of 2012, upward of 60 million people will have access to their medical records through the Blue Button.That prediction now stands at 75 million, according to the announcement.

UnitedHealthcare did not say how many members of its Nevada plan had actually downloaded their records with the Blue Button. However, it pointed out that nearly 20 million members have had access to personal health records (PHRs) on the UnitedHealthcare website "for years."

To learn more:
- read the UnitedHealthcare announcement

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