Feds to get better access to personal health data

All employees insured under plans in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program soon will be able to see, download and store their personal health data with the click of a mouse.

The tool, known as Blue Button, already is available to many employees, including veterans, military service members, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services beneficiaries. The Office of Personnel Management announced this week that FEHBP insurers must notify OPM of their plans to add the Blue Button download service by March 15.

"All health plans already have claims and personal health information in their databases, and virtually all FEHBP health plans currently offer a personal health record to their members," OPM Director John Berry said in a statement. "Adding Blue Button will make these records more readable, more accessible and more useful to patients and families. This easy access to lab results, medication and problem lists, allergies, appointment data, and wellness reminders make care both easier and better."

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