Helping veterans get health records online even better

Helping veterans get health records online even better


Okay, the deal is that the Department of Veterans Affairs makes vets' electronic health records available via a simple download, using their "blue button" application on

That's a big deal for vets, improving medical care, decreasing costs. (I'd sure like to have that available myself.)

Next step involves people building applications making these records really easy to use by vets, in a way that includes new medical info safely. (Security and privacy is a big deal!)

Turns out that the Markle Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio just ran a contest where people proposed applications which do just that with the VA data. (I played a very minor role.)

The winner is an Adobe application.

Here's the deal as the Markle and VA folks say:

The foundations sponsored the Blue Button Developer Challenge to stimulate innovation and
encourage doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, insurers, and personal health information services
to provide let their customers securely with a blue button to download their medical information

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Medicare have led the way by preparing to offer a blue button on their password-protected online portals to give veterans and beneficiaries the option of downloading copies of their medical or claims information. The VA has already made the blue button available at its site.

Adobe demonstrated an application and a security-enabled PDF document for patients to store
their downloads and share them with providers.





Eric's brother here. Thanks Craig for pointing this out, I'm a veteran, the health care is great, including the website, but I always wondered why my records weren't available. This is a big step up for any vet who wants to stay healthy.

Bill Swingle

As a vet and user of I can honestly say that the vets' electronic health record is a very useful service for personal collection of ones health information in a single location. The improvements in the last year are impressive and there are more to come. The ability to refill prescription medications alone is great benefit. Downloading ones record is very handy and easy to do also. It is important to spread the word and help vetrans gain access to and understand how to use this tool. — William Swingle (Sr.)

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