Niraj Nath • almost 12 years ago
I was going through the detail of the bluebutton application contest & had a queston on the datastore for the PHR. Where does the bluebutton application fetches the data from ? The format is provided in the sample text file provided but how that file/data can be retrieved by the bluebutton system in the real time?Is there any service exposed at the HealthVet/VA end to allow application(bluebutton application) installed at providers end to retrieve that for apatient/member ? Any other steps to follow which allows the app to retrieve the text file in automated fashion ? OR am I missing something here ?
Appreciate the help.
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James Speros Manager • almost 12 years ago
Thanks for checking in.
We want to be clear before diving into your questions: while the Blue Button®-enabled PHR must be interoperable with VA’s format, it does not and will not touch the VA system. We are looking for a PHR that can be installed on the websites of physicians across America that allows patients the ability to access their personal health record. While we are flattered if you want to replicate our PHR, you certainly don’t have to. With that in mind, here are answers to your questions.
Q: Where does the bluebutton application fetch the data from?
A: Blue Button®-enabled PHR will have its own database structure where patient-specific data will be stored. On request of the patient or someone the patient authorizes the data is downloaded in the text or .pdf format on our website: www.va.gov/bluebutton.
Q: The format is provided in the sample text file provided but how that file/data can be retrieved by the bluebutton system in the real time?
A: The specific processes by which a PHR stores and then delivers Blue Button® data, and the processes by which another PHR or EHR parses or imports that data are, of course, internal to the PHR or EHR involved.
Further, the rules don’t require a real time retrieval. Instead, it would be whatever makes sense for the particular application.
Q: Is there any service exposed at the HealthVet/VA end to allow application (bluebutton application) installed at providers end to retrieve that for a patient/member ?
A: VA does not have an exposed API available for the Blue Button yet. Again, you don’t really need a connection to VA’s PHR, so you don’t have to worry about our API.
This doesn’t mean your application can’t have an API. In fact, we encourage you to create a flexible application for many uses.
To be interoperable with VA’s Blue Button, you just need to use the same ASCII structure.
Q: Any other steps to follow which allows the app to retrieve the text file in automated fashion?
A: Since the file is in ASCII text, it can be parsed as a string of text.
Retrieving data depends on its use. The Blue Button® text format, by itself, is a powerful data-transfer tool. As we’ve mentioned before, it can be downloaded, stored, printed and read on any computer, anywhere. This means the patient and any receiving physician or hospital can read it and use it without special software. And with simple parsing or data-recognition utilities, the data can be imported into other PHRs – and even electronic health records.
There are applications –right now –which accept VA Blue Button data – an iPhone and Android app by Northrop which allows Veterans to display their health data on their smart phones, and a utility by Microsoft which imports Blue Button-formatted data into HealthVault. (I have to say that we’re not endorsing them, just mentioning them as examples.) We’re aware that others are working on similar utilities and provider-to-provider data transfer systems which rely on Blue Button® data streams.
We’re expecting that through this Contest, new and innovative ways of moving and using Blue Button® data will be developed.