Energy high as health IT week kicks off in DC

With Monday marking the kickoff of National Health IT Week, U.S. CTO Todd Park took the opportunity to bring his trademark enthusiasm to an already-energetic crowd at the Health and Human Services Department.

The Consumer Health IT Summit brought together an audience to discuss the Blue Button app, which allows patients to view and download their personal health records and access them securely. Agencies including the Defense Department, HHS and the Veterans Affairs Department have already implemented this capability for their beneficiaries.

Three first-round participants from the Presidential Innovation Fellows program — Henry Wei, Matt McCall and Ryan Panchadsaram — worked on the Blue Button for America project. Their work focused on making health records as complete as possible and creating a model that could easily transfer over to a nationwide system.

Park said the Blue Button app is an entrepreneurial opportunity for investors and developers to innovate. In a blog post, McCall and Wei said more than 115 million people would have access to Blue Button by the end of 2013.


“There has never been a better time to be an innovator,” Park said at the event.

The Blue Button initiative also gels with the administration’s digital strategy and open government policies — releasing meaningful data to entrepreneurs and opening up more data sets for citizens.

Park praised the Blue Button app, saying it is saving lives and enables citizens in “getting their own data, using it and sharing it in whatever fashion they wish, and doing it securely.”

The optimism Park expressed was reciprocated; the crowd often interjected, shouting out support, affirmation and bouts of applause throughout speech.

As National Health IT Week continues tomorrow, several government officials will be speaking at the HIMSS National Health IT Week Press Conference, 1:30 p.m. in the Capitol Visitors Center.

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