“Blue button” medical record program expands to private sector

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 23, 2012

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UnitedHealthcare, which adopted the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Dept. of Health and Human Services “blue button” program in March, announced plans to expand the program to nearly all 26 million of its members by mid-2013.

The Web-based program allows patients to view, print and share their personal health records with the click of a mouse. Participants of UnitedHealthcare's employee-sponsored plans have a PHR that includes health information such as previous and current health conditions, vital signs, procedures and other personal information.

The VA and HHS launched the blue button concept in 2010. Since then, more than half a million veterans and Medicare members have downloaded their records using the program. Several private-sector organizations and health plans, including Walgreens and Aetna, have adopted the program or announced plans to launch one.

By the end of 2012, as many as 75 million people will have access to their medical records through the initiative, said Roger Baker, chief information officer at the VA.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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