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Federal IT leaders seek support from developers for EHR adoption

Kenneth Corbin | Sept. 18, 2014
The White House is appealing to developers to join the open source community working to expand adoption of interoperable digital health records through its Blue Button initiative.

Patients of All Ages Receptive to Blue Button

But a year-long study that tracked about 10,000 patients and 100 doctors indicated that those concerns were misplaced, that the survey subjects on both sides seemed receptive to the technology, according to Panchadsaram.

"But the real nugget was that it found that patients with access felt more in control of their care, and report a better understanding of their medical issues," Panchadsaram says. "Open works."

Another worry about the Blue Button program was that it might only appeal to younger, more tech-savvy patients. "For it to really help it had to work for older people," Panchadsaram notes.

As it's turned out, older patients have been signing up for Blue Button in increasing numbers through the federal Medicare site, and, indeed, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently reported that it had signed up its 1 millionth Blue Button user.

Karen DeSalvo, the national coordinator for health IT, echoes Panchadsaram's call for broader adoption of the Blue Button EHR program, an effort that she says is predicated on the ability of disparate systems across the healthcare arena being able to share information in a common format.

"Interoperability has been our top priority at ONC," DeSalvo says, "but the guiding principle around that is advancing interoperability is really a means to the end — it's a way that individuals' health information is easily accessible to them when and where they need."


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