In August of 2010, the Blue Button capability was first publicized to the VA community by The Honorable Barack Obama. The Blue Button is a partnership throughout the healthcare industry that allows an individual the means to access all of their healthcare records in a centralized location. These records can include a veteran’s VA medical records and private medical records if their provider participates in the Blue Button system. Blue Button is directly connected to a veteran’s My HealtheVet account and they can have access to healthcare summaries, prescriptions, self-reported information, records from private medical facilities and more.
What Can Blue Button do for You?
Having a Blue Button account allows you to have the ability to download or print all of your healthcare records from one location. You can then keep these records to ensure you have hard copies and you can also easily distribute them to other medical providers, or say a well-established law firm who is handling your VA claim, such as Hill and Ponton, P.A. Within the Blue Button program, you can also grant access to non-VA healthcare providers who participate to be authorized to view your records electronically.
What are the Limitations of Blue Button?
As with any program, there are some limitations to the Blue Button. One limitation is that in order to view all of your VA healthcare summaries, you must have an advanced account. Now, this is not difficult to obtain; you just need to complete an authentication of your identity, either in-person, online, or by mail. If your private medical provider does not participate in Blue Button, your records with them will not appear in your account. Additionally, not all information from the VA is available immediately. The following delays occur with certain reports:
- Discharge summaries: available 3 calendar days after being completed
- Lab results: available 3 calendar days after being verified
- Notes (written from 1/1/13 to present): available 3 calendar days after signed by all required members of health care team (this may take awhile)
- Problem list: available 3 calendar days after being entered by VA provider (will contain active problems being managed by VA providers, may not contain all active problems managed by non-VA providers)
- Radiology reports: available 3 calendar days after being completed
Fortunately, the benefits of Blue Button seem to outweigh the few limitations. In addition to having ready access to your healthcare records, for those who have an advanced account, which is highly recommended, you have access to the following additional features:
- Refill and track your prescriptions
- View your VA Health Summary (contains all VA medical records)
- Secure messaging
- VA appointments
- DOD Military Service Information
How Can Using The Blue Button Impact Your Claim with Hill and Ponton?
If you have a blue button account, allowing our firm to have access can expedite the manner in which we develop evidence and arguments for your claim. While we will still request full medical records from the actual medical facility, this will allow us to have your medical information sooner than the current VA turn around times. You can read more about VA wait times in our blog Frustrated and Waiting: VA’s Delay of Veteran’s Records Request.
So, how do I Get an Account?
- Go to the website: http://bluebuttonconnector.healthit.gov
- Click GET STARTED
- Click HOSPITAL OR CLINIC
- In the SEARCH BY NAME box, type VETERAN
- Click US DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS
- Click the PICTURE with the title GET YOUR HEALTH RECORDS to log in
- Log in on the right hand side under MEMBER LOGIN using your My HealtheVet account information
- If you don’t have a My HealtheVet account, click the REGISTER button under FIRST TIME MY HEALTHEVET USER? REGISTER TODAY!
- This will bring you to the registration page where you will fill out all of the personal information