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‘Blue Button Plus is totally disruptive’

AURORA, Colo.—”Blue Button Plus is totally disruptive,” Frost & Sullivan health IT analyst Nancy Fabozzi just told me at the Healthcare Unbound conference. Why? Because the enhanced Blue Button Plus format can eliminate the need for healthcare providers to invest in patient portals in order to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2.

I tend to agree. The Stage 2 rules don’t require a portal, just the ability to transmit records securely from provider to patient. Providers, whether they be hospitals, clinics or even small physician practices, can just put a Blue Button widget on their Web site and give patients easy access to their medical records, transferred securely by the Direct protocol, itself a disruptive force for health information exchange.

Longtime readers might recall that I had dissed Blue Button in the past. More than once, in fact. That’s because the original Blue Button format was plain, unstructured text when it was an experiment at the VA. My opinion changed this week, when I realized that Blue Button Plus adds structure such as the Continuity of Care Document, and third-party vendors like Humetrix, make of the iBlueButton mobile app, provide additional context.

I don’t think this will kill the portal business because portals provide additional services such as secure messaging, appointment scheduling, refill requests and online bill payment. But it will make a lot of providers think twice about springing for an advanced portal when Blue Button Plus will fill the Meaningful Use need so easily.

July 12, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Extormity supports CCR and CCD

Leave it to fictional EHR vendor Extormity to muddle the world of health IT acronyms.

From a “press release” sent out today:

Extormity Announces Support for CCR and CCD

Surrendering to the inevitability of standards-based data exchange, EHR vendor Extormity today announced the introduction of a new CCR/CCD information sharing module.

“We recognize that the healthcare community in general and patients in particular are interested in simplifying the movement of information, and that CCD, CCR and other acronyms beginning with CC are emerging as the de facto standards for achieving this,” stated Extormity CEO Brantley Whittington from his fall retreat in Belize.

“Now, if a patient requests information from an Extormity provider, they will be given the option of CCR or CCD,” added Whittington. “Our research indicates that patients who came of age in the 60′s and 70′s prefer CCR, and we provide them with a CD containing their greatest hits – including Bad Moon Rising, Who’ll Stop the Rain, Born on the Bayou, Proud Mary and Green River. Our EHR downloads these popular tracks from the internet and burns them on a CCD while the patient waits.”

“Those opting for the CCD format tend to be Catholic parents of children who attend public schools,” according to Whittington. “As these kids do not get religious instruction as part of their school day, our CCD module generates a catechism document which can be printed or placed on portable electronic media, satisfying meaningful use patient education and church doctrinal teaching requirements.”

Extormity clients will automatically receive the CCR/CCD module as part of their next scheduled upgrade and monthly fee increase.

About Extormity

Extormity is an electronic health records mega-corporation dedicated to offering highly proprietary, difficult to customize and prohibitively expensive healthcare IT solutions. Our flagship product, the Extormity EMR Software Suite, was recently voted “Most Complex” by readers of a leading healthcare industry publication. Learn more at www.extormity.com

I’m guessing this makes Mr. Whittington a fan of the Big Lebowski because he left the Credence tape. Hopefully, he does not support drinking or smoking pot while driving, even at his Belize retreat. This aggression will not stand!

September 13, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

The dirty little secret about ‘Blue Button’

Since last summer, various government agencies, notably the Department of Veterans Affairs, have been touting the Blue Button Initiative as an easy way of  sharing electronic data with patients. Just click the blue button in the patient EHR portal and download data into a personal health record or a printout. Sounds simple enough.

Late yesterday, my successor at a publication I was the primary writer of until late last year, cited the importance of the Blue Button, particularly when coupled with Microsoft’s HealthVault PHR platform. (If I turned in my story as late as 4:52 p.m. for that client, I would have been docked at least $150, but that’s neither here nor there.)

The fact that HealthVault and other “untethered” PHRs are non-starters when it comes to the public notwithstanding, Blue Button has a serious, perhaps fatal flaw. It outputs data in unstructured text form that’s not easily readable by an EHR. There’s no Continuity of Care Record, no Continuity of Care Document, no form of Clinical Document Architecture at all.

Just. Plain. Text.

One techie doctor I know calls this data essentially useless.

UPDATE 10 a.m. EST: The techie doctor I mentioned is Dr. Enoch Choi of Palo Alto Medical Foundation, per his comment below. He tweeted about this last month.

February 22, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.