HIMSS19: Verma touts Blue Button 2.0 apps, though uptake still low
- CMS Administrator Seema Verma took to HIMSS 2019 on Tuesday for an update of Blue Button 2.0 since its launch last year. The program, which aims to allow developers to create applications using Medicare claims data for beneficiaries, now has 18 companies with production applications. More than 1,500 developers, up from 1,200 in October, are working in a sandbox environment.
- Uptake remains small. Only a few thousand Medicare beneficiaries have elected to share their claims data with production developers, according to Verma. CMS is "working on new ways to update our nearly 40 million Medicare beneficiaries on the availability of Blue Button 2.0 applications."
- Humana, eClinicalWorks, Verily and Rush University Medical Center are some of the entities with production applications.
Verma said that while CMS is looking to "focus on making sure our beneficiaries are aware" the applications exist, there is an onus on the developers to spread awareness as well.
CMS is also putting pressure on private insurers to share claims data with patients in its Interoperability and Patient Access proposed rule released Monday. Verma noted that while Blue Button 2.0 enabled 40 million Medicare patients the ability to gain access to their claims data, more needs to be done.
"For the first time, we are proposing that all health plans doing business in Medicare, Medicaid and through the federal exchanges share health claims data and other important information electronically with their patients," Verma said.
Ideally, patients using the Blue Button 2.0 applications will be able to better keep track of medical appointments, claims, records and medicines in one place, Verma said. Another potential use is having patients volunteer their claims data to be used in research projects.
Verily's production application, for example, uses the Blue Button 2.0 API to enable Medicare patients enrolled in its Project Baseline study to share their claims data.
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