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Vital Signs

The Healthcare Business Blog

Doc helps lead Blue Button 'revolution'

By Joseph Conn

Watch out for a French person talking about revolution.

“The patient is the revolutionary in healthcare these days,” said Dr. Bettina Experton, a French-born oncologist turned U.S. citizen and health IT entrepreneur. “That is why I think Blue Button is revolutionary.”

Hospitals, physicians and other providers looking for technologies to help them comply with a new Stage 2 electronic health-record meaningful use rule on interoperability with patients might want to take a look at her product. To meet Stage 2 meaningful-use criteria—and get paid an EHR incentive, and to avoid a Medicare reimbursement penalty—the provider must adopt and use technology that empowers patients to electronically view their own records, to download their own records, and to transmit/send electronic copies of their own records to a third party, such as another provider, a relative or a home care worker.

Experton is the founder, president and CEO of Humetrix, a Del Mar, Calif.-based company that developed iBlueButton, a mobile app that was the winner last year of the $45,000 first prize in an HHS-sponsored competition for developers called the Blue Button Mash Up i2 Challenge. Her app leverages BlueButton+, the second generation of Blue Button technology, which was first developed by the Veterans Affairs Department and touted by President Barack Obama.

She was a presenter last week at the 22nd annual Physician-Computer Connection Symposium sponsored by the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems. Her iBlueButton uses the mobile device's onboard computing power to organize and present the information. It places selected data from each record under colorful headers and in order, such as a patient's medications, diagnoses, physician office visits and inpatient stays.

Patients can use their mobile device to transmit encrypted copies of their records to another provider. Receiving providers equipped with the iBlueButton pro version can decrypt and use those records.

Experton said she met June 6 in the White House with other health IT advocates to discuss ways to promote the Blue Button technology. Those in the room included Dr. Farzad Mostashari, head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS.

“Everybody agreed that spreading the word was key,” Experton said.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn

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