VA Announces Blue Button Contest Winner

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that RelayHealth is the winner of the department’s “Blue Button for All Americas” contest.

RelayHealth, the connectivity business of McKesson, won $50,000 in the contest by making a Blue Button personal health record system available to all patients, including veterans, to more than 25,000 physicians across America. RelayHealth announced it will donate the prize to the Wounded Warrior Project.

The contest was sponsored by the VA’s Innovations Initiative (VAi2).

“We held this contest to help Veterans across America to be able to download their health data regardless of where they get their care,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. “We wanted to give Veterans and their families easy access to their health data with the Blue Button so they can have greater control over the health care they receive. RelayHealth’s contribution to this goal is more than commendable.”


Added VA Chief Technology Officer Peter Levin, “This contest proves that patient-controlled PHRs using the Blue Button can be simple, secure and inexpensive. It also proves that through collaborations like this, the government and private-sector organizations like RelayHealth can make health care information exchanges part of the mainstream of American medicine.”

Blue Button personal health records allow patients to view, download and keep their health data by clicking on a blue button on a secure internet site. The downloads are in a text format that can be placed on any standard computer without the need for special software.

The person then can share their information with doctors or family members or make available if emergency treatment is needed.

“The Blue Button initiative, a flagship open government initiative of the VA with active multi-agency collaboration, has scaled from a promising ‘startup’ to a national service,” said Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. “By tapping into our country’s entrepreneurial spirit through challenges and prizes, we celebrate the engagement of the private sector to ensure Blue Button is available to – and will be used – by millions of Americans.”

The Blue Button concept was developed by VA along with the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Defense and the Markle Foundation. In August 2010, the VA became the first agency to offer blue button functions to its patients. Since then, hundreds of thousands of veterans have downloaded their data from VA’s My HealtheVet website.


“We know from our own experience that the six million Veterans who receive their care through VA want to have access to their health data using the Blue Button,” said VAi2 Director Jonah Czerwinski. “We thought it important that the more than 17 million Veterans across the country who get their care from non-VA providers have access to Blue Button downloads through their private physicians as well.”

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