Blue Button Initiative

The following information is from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

On August 2, 2010, President Obama announced the "Blue Button" capability that allows Veterans to download their personal health information from their My HealtheVet account. VA developed the Blue Button in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Department of Defense, along with the Markle Foundation’s Consumer Engagement Workgroup.

My HealtheVet and the VA Blue Button

The My HealtheVet Personal Health Record (PHR) is comprised of self-entered health metrics (blood pressure, weight, heart rate, etc.), emergency contact information, test results, family health history, military health history, and other health related information. The Blue Button extract that Veterans can download is a so-called "ASCII text file", the easiest and simplest electronic text format (see sample files: all data, by data class, or by date range).

VA Blue Button files can be printed or saved on computers and portable storage devices. Having control of this information enables Veterans to share this data with health care providers, caregivers, or people they trust. On October 7, 2010, VA and CMS officially announced the VA Blue Button download feature in a presentation by VA Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Peter Levin, at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco. The initiative was launched in collaboration with the White House, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and the Department of Health and Human Services Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park.

VA Blue Button Upgraded to Empower Veterans to Manage Their Health Care

With the January 2011 release of the VA Blue Button, registered users of My HealtheVet can now download a single file that includes these new features:

  • VA Appointments (past and future)*
  • Self-entered health care providers, treatment facilities and health insurance information
  • Ability to customize the Blue Button download based on topics and dates

*Veterans must be in-person authenticated to access VA Appointments.

Use Blue Button in More Ways

Industry is building applications to help Veterans use their Blue Button file to better manage their health. The following companies have created applications that use Blue Button (DISCLAIMER: VA does not endorse these products or companies):

If your organization has created an application for Blue Button and would like to be added to this list, email us.

For more exciting news on Blue Button, visit the White House blog post or the CMS Blue Button website.

For questions about VA’s Blue Button, please email VA Blue Button.