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Advisory Board Opens Blue Button App Challenge

June 8, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The Advisory Board, a Washington, D.C.-based research and technology firm, is launching a Patient Engagement Blue Button Challenge alongside the Office for the National Coordinator of Health IT, which asks developers to submit software applications that help providers engage patients in improved health outcomes through secure sharing of key personal health data.

Aneesh Chopra, former United States Chief Technology Officer and current senior advisor of Health Care Strategy at The Advisory Board Company announced this challenge this week at the Health Data Initiative Forum III, known as the government sponsored Health Datapalooza.  The winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize. 

"The Patient Engagement Blue Button Challenge addresses a critical open data problem for health careproviders," Chopra said in a statement.  "A key step toward increasing patients' management of their own care will be making it easy for patients not just to view and download their health data,but also to share it securely with providers.  Effective patient engagement is an essential component of health care provider strategy in this era of value-based purchasing, episode-of-care-based bundled payments, and shared savings programs."  

The Blue Button is a feature on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, which lets patients access and download their health information from doctors, insurers, pharmacies, or other health-related providers. It appears on the patient portals of more than one third of U.S. hospitals. The app challenge from The Advisory Board Company looks to build upon these existing standards and help providers leverage data to form a new, more profound type of cross-network care management. 

It will look for a consumer-focused application that will maximize the number of individuals sharing Blue Button data with the more than 550 hospitals on the company’s Crimson platform.  Software application entries should demonstrate ways in which a provider can encourage patients to upload Blue Button data and give permission for its use.

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