The Blue Button initiative was first introduced by the VA, and subsequently began being promoted by many healthcare vendors. VA’s Blue Button allows a patient to access and download their information from a personal health record (Personal Health Record (PHR), as defined in Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms (The National Alliance for Health Information Technology, April 28, 2008): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms ... More) into a very simple text file or PDF that can be read, printed, or saved on any computer. This enables patients to share this data with their health care providers, caregivers, or other people they trust.
The downloaded format is not in an industry standard format, such as Continuity of Care Document (CCD) The HL7 CCD is the result of a collaborative effort between the Health Level Seven and American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) to “harmonize” the data format between ASTM’s Continuity of Care Record (CCR)... More or Continuity of Care Record (CCR) is an XML-based standard for the movement of “documents” between clinical applications. Furthermore, it responds to the need to organize and make transportable a set of basic information about a patient’s health ... More, which makes it less interoperable from an EHR-to-EHR sharing standpoint. The downloaded file is more targeted for human viewing and sharing.