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Blue Button API: Improving Medicare Beneficiary Access to Their Health Information

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The mission of the Blue Button® API project is to enhance CMS’ current Blue Button service to provide a developer-friendly, standards-based data Application Programming Interface (API) that enables beneficiaries to connect their Medicare claims data to the applications, services, and research programs they trust.


The Blue Button service was established in 2010 as a joint effort of CMS and the Veteran’s Administration. Since that time, Blue Button has been used by more than one million beneficiaries to download their CMS information via the portal.

The current text and PDF downloadable files, while relatively easy to read, become challenging when handling large amounts of data, or converting the content into reusable data for further analysis.

As digital health care evolves, data becomes an important resource that patients can use to improve health outcomes for themselves, and as part of research groups. This drives the need for easier data interoperability.

The Proposed Solution

CMS is originally engaged the HHS Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) program to design an enhanced Data-as-a-Service API that will enable Medicare beneficiaries to connect their claims data to applications, services, and research programs they trust. Utilizing the HL7 Fast Health Interoperability Resource (FHIR) framework to ensure data is in a structured format that can be accepted by a wide range of applications, the team is designing an interface on top of the FHIR API to enable Medicare beneficiaries to connect their data to third-party applications; putting the beneficiary in control of their health data is a crucial part of this new data API design.

For more information, see the links in the sidebar.

Blue Button, the slogan, ‘Download My Data,’ the Blue Button Logo, and the Blue Button Combined Logo are registered service marks owned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.