The Blue Button movement is an electronic method of health care access. It maximizes the use of technology to improve the healthcare system (Austin, Hull, & Westra, 2014). The Blue Button is a portal button which originated from the veteran administration. It was a portal symbol of the veterans administration portal, and it enabled beneficiaries to print, read, store, and download their health data. Its primary objective is to engage patients and other individuals in the process of maintaining their health.
Over time, Blue Button has recorded a widespread use among Americans both in the private sector and among other government agencies. Its popularity propelled ownership transfer to the ONC which is currently the nation-wide coordinator. As a result, a high number of military and veteran members, healthcare, and insurance providers can make detailed health information electronically available for patients (Austin, Hull, & Westra, 2014). Notably, the Veteran Administration and ONC still work in coordination to ensure the effectiveness of the Blue Button. Despite its unavailability to everybody, Blue Button does not require any special software or technology. Additionally, the charges are minimal.
With Blue Button movement, the traditional perspectives of patient data have changed. Initially, most patients believed that the only information they were entitled to was x-rays and charts. However, with the Blue Button movement, people have access to comprehensive details regarding their health (Austin, Hull, & Westra, 2014). Essentially, Blue Button facilitates the sharing of these health details with the patient's doctor, family, and other relevant care providers.
Additionally, Blue Button ensures that a patients medical history is readily available when required. For instance, in case of a medical emergency, when seeking medical record clearance, when enquiring alternative information on a specific health condition, and when switching to a different health insurance provider. Therefore, Blue Button is more efficient because it minimizes the paperwork involved in storing and accessing health records.
At the same time, Blue Button ensures that the patient is actively involved in their journey to accessing treatment (Austin, Hull, & Westra, 2014). It allows patients to double check vital information such as vaccinations, prescribed check-ups and drug prescriptions, lab results, and appointments. Therefore, instances of missed appointments are minimized, and the patient can achieve their wellness goals.
Blue Button assures the security of patient information. Unlike in traditional practices, the doctors can trust patients with medical records without the fear of them losing it (Smith, Armfield, & Eikelboom, 2012). More importantly, it enables patient information to be shared in a fast and convenient manner between different doctor's offices, pharmacies, government institutions, various hospitals, and even with the involved patient. Thus, this chain of communication provides for an improved management of medical conditions, and, at the same time, the privacy of information is also guaranteed.
Security Measures to Uphold Privacy
Patients usually raise concerns about the confidentiality and security of their medical information. Therefore, the Blue Button has put in place measures to assure the safety of patient data. For instance, the stored data is encrypted; thus, it cannot be understood or read by any other person other than the patient or the doctor who can decrypt it. To access the encrypted data, an appropriate key is provided. A patient's personal details such as year of birth or last name are used as a key. Hence, it is almost impossible for a third party to access these details. Moreover, access control mechanisms such as login details username, pins, and passwords are also put in place. Nonetheless, the patient should ensure that they do not download their medical history on a public computer and also be keen not to leave their printed information on a public printer. On the other hand, medical practitioners are required to observe their work ethics and ensure confidentiality of patient information.
An Outline of the Procedure to Access Patient Data
To access their medical data, a patient is required to look for some specific words: blue button, the blue button logo, and the combination of the words and logo.
Step 1: the patient logs in into their account by keying in their username and password.
Step 2: the patient locates the medical records or health records file based on their preferences.
Step 3: he or she then clicks continue and selects the type of report page needed.
Step 4: afterward, one selects the type of information they require based on their report and then clicks the submit button.
Step 5: lastly, the patient selects the download file option and either downloads a PDF or text file based on their preference.
In conclusion, the recent years have seen a coupled effort between the patient and the doctor in raising the health care quality. Blue Button is a powerful technology that ensures that patients can easily access their clinical details just by a button click. To improve convenience, the software has been made available on mobile phones. Interestingly, Blue Button has advanced to one of the best application software for health providers. For this reason, several reputable pharmacies have adopted this technology to help their customers request and download their prescriptions. Thus, Blue Button is a significant milestone in the health industry.
Austin, R., Hull, S., & Westra, B. (2014). Blue button movement. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 32(1), 7-9.
Smith, A., Armfield, N., & Eikelboom, R. (2012). Global telehealth 2012. Amsterdam: IOS Press.
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