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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2014 Jul-Aug;21(4):657-63. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2014-002723. Epub 2014 Apr 16.

Blue Button use by patients to access and share health record information using the Department of Veterans Affairs' online patient portal.

Author information

  • 1Iowa City VA Health Care System, Comprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Center, Iowa City, Iowa, USA Department of Psychiatry, The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
  • 2Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR), A VA HSR&D Center of Innovation, Bedford, Massachusetts, USA Department of Health Policy and Management, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 3Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR), A VA HSR&D Center of Innovation, Bedford, Massachusetts, USA Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, eHealth Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, National eHealth QUERI Coordinating Center, Bedford, Massachusetts, USA Division of Health Informatics and Implementation Science, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 4Portland VA Medical Center, Health Services Research & Development, Portland, Oregon, USA Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA.
  • 5Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 6Iowa City VA Health Care System, Comprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Center, Iowa City, Iowa, USA Department of Epidemiology, The University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
  • 7Iowa City VA Health Care System, Comprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Center, Iowa City, Iowa, USA Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
  • 8Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Center for Innovation to Implementation, Menlo Park, California, USA Division of General Medical Disciplines, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.
  • 9Department of Psychiatry, The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
  • 10Iowa City VA Health Care System, Comprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Center, Iowa City, Iowa, USA University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, Columbia, Missouri, USA.
  • 11Veterans and Consumers Health Informatics Office, Office of Informatics & Analytics, Veterans Health Administration, Washington, DC, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The Blue Button feature of online patient portals promotes patient engagement by allowing patients to easily download their personal health information. This study examines the adoption and use of the Blue Button feature in the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) personal health record portal, My HealtheVet.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

An online survey presented to a 4% random sample of My HealtheVet users between March and May 2012. Questions were designed to determine characteristics associated with Blue Button use, perceived value of use, and how Veterans with non-VA providers use the Blue Button to share information with their non-VA providers.

RESULTS:

Of the survey participants (N=18 398), 33% were current Blue Button users. The most highly endorsed benefit was that it helped patients understand their health history better because all the information was in one place (73%). Twenty-one percent of Blue Button users with a non-VA provider shared their VA health information, and 87% reported that the non-VA provider found the information somewhat or very helpful. Veterans' self-rated computer ability was the strongest factor contributing to both Blue Button use and to sharing information with non-VA providers. When comparing Blue Button users and non-users, barriers to adoption were low awareness of the feature and difficulty using the Blue Button.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study contributes to the understanding of early Blue Button adoption and use of this feature for patient-initiated sharing of health information. Educational efforts are needed to raise awareness of the Blue Button and to address usability issues that hinder adoption.

Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.

KEYWORDS:

Care Coordination; Health Record, Personal; Veterans

PMID:
24740865
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4078285
Free PMC Article
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