Back to all updates

over 7 years ago

Welcome to the Blue Button for All Americans Contest

Welcome to the VA Blue Button Provider Contest blog.   This is one place to come for news about the Contest -- and importantly, the place to come for any official guidance on the contest itself.

 That’s because if you send questions or comments which tell us that we need to clarify things about the contest, this is where you’ll read about it.  And if you read a clarification here – on this Blog – you can rely on it when you send in your application for the prize.

 So what’s this contest about?  A couple of things. 

 First, we want Veterans across the country to be able to download their health data regardless of where they get their care.  Secretary Shinseki summarized it in his announcement:

“Over six million Veterans who receive health care from VA can already download their personal health data using the Blue Button. We want to be sure the 17 million Veterans who receive care from non-VA doctors and hospitals can do the same.”

Second, as excited as we are about Blue Button being a new technology, we’d be even happier if it was just part of what all of us expect to have where we get our care.  White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra said it well:

“Veterans can now expect that downloading their data will be a routine part of the care they receive from VA. We want Veterans across America – and the general public – to think of Blue Button downloads as something they receive from their family doctors as a routine matter.”

Yes, there are Blue Button and Blue Button-like apps in use, right now.   But they tend to be offered by large systems (like VA) or large health plans.  We looked, but we didn’t find a Blue Button-type Personal Health Record (PHR) which a physician or physician group could easily set up on their website and routinely make available to their patients.

So that’s why this contest is happening.

The contest participant who goes home with the prize – or shares it with other participants – will be someone who helps doctors and physician groups across America install a simple and secure Blue Button PHR on the doctors’ websites. 

But the prize winner won’t be the only one who wins.  Family doctors who install the Blue Button app will win – they’ll be able to connect with their patients just like the large health systems do.  Veterans win, too – they’ll have access to a Blue Button PHR where they get their care, regardless of whether that’s at the local VA clinic or from a non-VA doctor.  And the public wins, since if a Blue Button PHR is good for Veterans, it can be good for all patients, too.

Have questions?  There’s a Discussion forum on this website.  We check it every day.  (OK, so we check it several times day.)   If you have questions, ask ‘em.  If you have comments, weigh in.  It’s likely your questions or comments will get responses by others – that’s what the Discussion forum is about.

And check back here for more on the Blue Button Provider Contest.