Caregivers may be able to keep better track of seniors’ health information thanks to a new electronic tool that will allow easier access to health records. The Blue Button program is a federal initiative aimed at promoting patient engagement and making health data more available to patients and caretakers. The technology enables patients and caregivers to go online and download health records from doctors, pharmacies, and health centers that participate in the program. As part of the initiative, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will, in 2014, launch the Blue Button Connector, a website listing all providers, payers, and Blue Button health care organizations.
How Will Blue Button Help Caregivers?
Caring for a senior can be challenging, especially when it comes to keeping track of medications, medical tests, and ongoing health conditions. With Blue Button, caretakers can more easily review seniors’ health information and keep up to date on any changing circumstances or necessary treatments. Some benefits of the technology include:
- The ability to share health information with trusted family members or neighbors (for example, if a caretaker is going on vacation and needs another relative to monitor a senior’s health).
- Ensuring health data is accurate and complete. Caretakers can more quickly contact seniors’ health providers if medication lists need to be updated or health information is missing.
- Keeping better track of seniors’ medical treatments or procedures. Caretakers can examine what type of medical care seniors have received in the past, which can help with future health care decisions.
- Medical history is available in case of emergency, for instance, when caretakers or seniors are traveling or meeting a new health care provider.
- Health information is readily available on various devices. Caretakers and patients can plug health information into phone apps or electronic devices that help patients set and reach personalized health goals.
While some Blue Button technology is available now, the program continues to expand. Ask your senior’s doctor or insurance company if they are participating in Blue Button and offer the ability to download, view online, or share health information through the technology. You may also want to keep you eye out for the Blue Button Logo displayed at your doctor’s office or on a health center website.
Monitoring Health Problems Through Blue Button
Downloading health information electronically and keeping abreast of seniors’ health documents can help caregivers better monitor their medical history. Knowing what medications seniors take or what new conditions arise enables you to help seniors take better care of themselves.