Blue Button 2.0: The Future of Healthcare Patient Data

Abhinav Shashank
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Application Programming Interface (API) is taking the healthcare ecosystem by storm. It enables systematic data exchange and flow in disparate healthcare operations.

However, due to the lack of technical standards and the use of multiple technologies, there is an emerging need for service-customized APIs. 

Defining Blue Button

Launched with a focus on patient-data-accessibility, Blue Button has already been helping millions of Medicare beneficiaries to access their electronic health records and make informed decisions. However, EHRs scattered across platforms and formats continue to be a challenge for the care ecosystem. 

These challenges in the healthcare scenario are expected to diminish with the increasing payer-provider interoperability. Blue Button 2.0 uses FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standards to avail translated claims data to Medicare beneficiaries. It also uses OAuth 2.0 for beneficiary consent. 

Blue Button 2.0 API has empowered patients by providing them with a range of healthcare choices which they didn’t have earlier. They can share their entire claims and healthcare data with trusted parties or applications.

With the latest indication by CMS towards mandating Medicare Advantage plan sponsors to adopt data-sharing platforms that can be linked with Blue Button 2.0 from the beginning of the year 2020, we take a step closer to health data portability for all. 

What makes Blue Button 2.0 different from Blue Button?

Blue Button 2.0 has a much broader impact potential than the original Blue Button initiative. Blue Button was launched in 2010 with features to download and print patient data. Blue Button 2.0 comes with an additional facility of uploading data on trusted applications. Patients can be more responsible for their healthcare planning, sharing their data with credible sources like health apps, claim apps, among others.

Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0 lets you connect your Medicare health information to other services you trust, like applications, computer-based programs, and research-based programs.

How is Blue Button 2.0 API helping in data integration and interoperability?

APIs are helping amalgamate the different data formats and facilitate easy exchange between platforms. With data unification across prescribed drugs, primary care treatments received, costs of care, type of Medicare coverage, and four years of claims data, Blue Button 2.0 is driving the new healthcare revolution. 

The road ahead 

In a few years, healthcare APIs will be indispensable. APIs will be vital in enabling payers and providers to coordinate care at the patient level effectively. Additionally, as interoperability gives way to easy-to-use and easy-to-understand data sets, healthcare organizations will have a new level of insights into the needs of their patients and the blind spots of their networks. This alone will guide healthcare into an era of better, informed decision making.  

It holds a bright future for private and other insurers, putting them first and best in providing organized data, and thrusting the network ahead in value-based care.

To know more about how you can leverage a data activation platform to enhance care ecosystem and access InAPI, get a demo.

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Join Adrienne White-Faines MPA, FACHE, Nathan Riggle, Emily K. Fletcher MPH at 10 AM PT/12 Noon CT/1 PM ET on August 27 in a webinar, titled "Connecting Communities and Care Teams for Improved Population Health." Register now!

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