AHIMA announces support for Blue Button Initiative

Oct. 28, 2013

ATLANTA – Oct. 28, 2013 – The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announced today that it will embark on a campaign to encourage its Component State Associations and members to actively support the Blue Button Initiative to promote access to personal health records (PHRs).

The announcement was made at AHIMA’s 85th Annual Convention and Exhibit in Atlanta.

The Blue Button is a national program that allows patients to view online and download their PHRs. Several U.S. government agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs, participate. The Blue Button program also has pledges of support from many stakeholders including providers, health plans and personal health record vendors. Organizations and sites that use the Blue Button allow consumers to download their health data and create medical histories, which can then be shared with all their healthcare providers.

“We’re pleased to announce our support for this important national initiative, and we’re certain our members will rally around more patient access to health information,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “The Blue Button campaign aligns perfectly with AHIMA’s mission of making health information available where and when it’s needed.”

AHIMA has taken the Blue Button Pledge, and is encouraging all its more than 67,000 members to do so as well. Members also are being encouraged to spread the word to their employers, family, healthcare providers, friends and fellow HIM professionals. In addition, AHIMA is asking its Component State Associations to become Blue Button Pledge supporters.

This effort is part of AHIMA’s strategic plan to engage consumers in their healthcare by actively participating in the capture and use of their health information. AHIMA’s offers a website, myPHR.com, to provide patients with a plan for developing a personal health record, as well as information about the health information landscape.  The support for the Blue Button campaign also ties into one of the components of AHIMA’s strategic plan – advancing the public good.

“More than 80 million Americans are now able to access their health information through the Blue Button program,” said Marsha Dolan, MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA, co-chair of AHIMA’s Consumer Engagement Council. “We’re confident that with the support of AHIMA members, we can extend access to even more people.”

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), part of the Department of Health and Human Services, now has a role encouraging broader use of Blue Button and enhancing its technical standards. In 2014, a new tool will be available to help consumers find out which providers, health plans and others offer Blue Button.

Those at the AHIMA Convention can learn more by viewing the Blue Button poster developed by members of the AHIMA Consumer Engagement Practice Council. A session on Consumer Engagement to be presented on Tuesday, Oct. 29 by Vera Rulon MS, RHIT, FAHIMA, director of external medical communications, at Pfizer Inc, will address patient empowerment through access to their personal health information and how this improves patient- provider communication.  “This is an exciting time for consumers as we continue to provide tools and resources that will allow them to take better control of their health and overall quality of care,” said Rulon.

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