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VA upgrades Blue Button with enhancements, new features

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Veterans will now have better access to their personal health information thanks to a new, enhanced version of the Veterans Affairs Department's Blue Button downloadable electronic health record that now includes several new categories of information, according to a VA announcement.

New types of information from the VA electronic health record now available in the Blue Button include: demographics, problem list, admissions and discharges, laboratory results (microbiology), pathology reports (surgical pathology, cytology and electron microscopy), vitals and readings, radiology reports, and a listing of electrocardiogram reports. In addition, self-reported food and activity journals are now also available for inclusion in the Blue Button.

As part of the upgrade, the Blue Button includes the VA Continuity of Care Document, a feature that contains a summary of a veteran's essential health and medical care information in an xml file format. The VA CCD uses recognized standards that support the exchange of information between health care systems and providers and are able to be read by a growing number of computer applications.

Additional software functionality for Blue Button users is in an app called VA OpenNotes, which "opens" clinical notes enabling veterans to read their health care team's notes from appointments and hospital visits. VA OpenNotes also provides veterans with the ability to read and discuss notes with their health care teams, family and caregivers.  

Blue Button, the personal health record inside the My HealtheVet self-service platform, enables veterans to download an electronic file that contains their personal health information. To date, more than one million patients have used the Blue Button to download data from a personal health record. 

For more:
-read the VA press release

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