Government Presses for Blue Button Mobile App

The Obama administration has issued a presidential directive mandating that each federal agency make at least two government services available to the public via mobile applications within a year.

President Obama also announced the intent to expand the Veterans Affairs Department’s Blue Button Program, which would allow patients the ability to receive text-based downloads of their medical records.

The goal of Blue Button is to develop tools that will help individuals utilize their own health records – current medications and drug allergies, claims and treatment data, and lab reports – to improve their health and healthcare, according to a Presidential Innovation Fellows Web site discussing the project.
Blue Button’s download capability offers individuals better access to their information so they can more effectively participate in and manage their health, according to BlueButton.org. 

“For far too long, the American people have been forced to navigate a labyrinth of information across different Government programs in order to find the services they need,” President Obama wrote in a two-page memo. “In addition, at a time when Americans increasingly pay bills and buy tickets on mobile devices, Government services often are not optimized for smart phones or tablets, assuming the services are even available online.”

The memo was issued to remind departments and agencies that on April 27, 2011, Obama made an executive order that required agencies to utilize technology to streamline efficiency.

Currently, Blue Button is available to veterans, uniformed service members, and Medicare beneficiaries. Nearly a million people have downloaded their health information, according to the Presidential Innovation Fellows Web site.

“We want to empower all Americans, working to spread implementation voluntarily by the private sector and helping to stimulate the development of tools that can help individuals utilize their own data to improve their health and healthcare,” Obama wrote.

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