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Blue Button on FHIR: Improving Medicare Beneficiary Access to Their Health Information

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The mission of the Blue Button® on FHIR® 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.

Background

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 MyMedicare.gov 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 engaging 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 HHS Idea Lab blog posts and related links below.

HHS IDEA LAB Blog Posts

Are Federal Health Initiatives on FHIR?

HL7’s Fast Health Interoperability Resource (FHIR) framework has caught the imagination of developers by offering a developer-friendly Application Programming Interface (API) and a rich set of simple, but flexible standard data formats… [read more on the HHS IDEA LAB Blog ]

Trusting Health APIs

Trust is the basis for all interactions in the health care world. One big challenge is to create trust without becoming intrusive or limiting. This issue of trust has been a critical component as we design the next generation of Blue Button service for Medicare beneficiaries… [read more on the HHS IDEA LAB Blog]

Unleashing the Power of Personal Health Data

Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Mark Scrimshire explains his motivation for taking on the challenge of creating the next generation of Blue Button service at CMS and his personal mission to promote patient empowerment... [read more on the HHS IDEA LAB Blog]