Health IT, Patient Engagement

Human API and CMS collaborate to help Medicare patients share claims data in new chapter for Blue Button

CMS has recruited more than 100 organizations to join the CMS Medicare Blue Button 2.0 developer preview program, which was announced at the HIMSS conference in Las Vegas this week.


The push to give patients more control over their own medical information has taken many twists and turns over the years from patient portals to personal health records. At the HIMSS conference in Las Vegas this week, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services unveiled a new chapter to Blue Button in a partnership with Human API as part of a broader initiative by CMS.

CMS Blue Button 2.0 API is designed to help an estimated 53 million Medicare members share four years worth of their claims information with providers, clinical researchers, and digital health services. That data includes drug prescriptions, primary care treatment and cost, plus Medicare coverage.  Beneficiaries also have full control over how their data can be used. The API uses the HL7 Fast Health Interoperability Resource (FHIR) framework so that the data is in a structured format that can be accepted by a wide range of applications.

In addition to allowing Medicare beneficiaries to share claims data with multiple doctors and healthcare facilities, the Blue Button 2.0 API is also intended to help research organizations pre-populate medication lists for patients as part of clinical trial enrollment. It could also help pharmacies assess medication adherence over time.

Blue Button traces its origins to 2010 and was developed in a collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs and CMS. VA’s Blue Button feature was launched in August 2010. Humetrix developed a version of Blue Button accessible on mobile devices referred to as iBlueButton available to veterans, Medicare recipients and Tricare members. Tricare provides civilian health benefits for U.S Armed Forces military personnel, military retirees, managed by the Defense Health Agency.

CMS has recruited more than 100 organizations to join CMS’ Medicare Blue Button 2.0 developer preview program, according to its summary of the initiative. Developers can also sign up to take part in the program on a dedicated website.

Human API CEO Andrei Pop said that the collaboration with CMS is the first of several more claims data integrations the company plans to launch this year, in response to emailed questions.


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