Designed for organizations looking to help patients get access to their digital health information, the Blue Button Toolkit comprises recommended technical standards for data sharing between practice and patients in a structured way. Blue Button is for every provider who is interested in improving care and health of his/her patients through proper information access and use. The Blue Button Tool Kit has been launched by the government as a part of the Blue Button Initiative.

If you are wondering what the Blue Button Initiative is, it is a public-private collaboration that includes the White House, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and multiple private sector organizations. The main objective of Blue Button is to empower and engage consumers and patients by allowing them electronic access to their own health information in a way they can use it to improve their health and properly manage their health care.

So what’s new in the Toolkit?

The Blue Button Toolkit replaces and updates the Blue Button Implementation Guide. ONC things that the new toolkit will continue to evolve as new standards develop over the next few years. The technical standards featured in the Blue Button Toolkit comprise a portfolio of national standards that enables it to empower all Americans with electronic access to their health data.

It contains alternative technical approaches supporting exchange of information and direct protocols to ensure secure exchange of information with the patients. It also encourages the use of Secure Attachments, APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), and Web Services to achieve dependable health information exchange with patients.

Providers can also find marketing materials along with relevant guidance regarding the methods of incorporating the Blue Button symbol into their product or upload it to their website, free of charge, to assist in conveying their practice’s commitment to patient empowerment. So the Blue button toolkit is a single source for Technical Standards & Guidelines aimed at supporting patient access to their health data in a secure manner.