Cerner has announced plans to support and participate in the Blue Button + initiative, marking a small step towards freer sharing of patient health information by its clients.
Blue Button +, launched as the Automate Blue Button Plus Initiative, is the next generation version of the Blue Button technology for consumer download of health information. This next gen Blue Button is intended to provide a blueprint for better-structured and secure transmission of personal health data.
What this announcement means in practical terms, according to an entry in Cerner’s blog, is that the EMR giant will make it possible for its Cerner Direct clients to securely zap information to any personal health record participating in Blue Button +. Cerner Direct users will also be able to send automated reminders to people managing specific health conditions or who need age/gender-specific check-ups, plus send out summaries of care and instructions following a health visit.
Cerner Direct, as readers probably guessed, uses standards drawn from the Direct Project, a set of standards and documentation allowing providers to push data from one point to another. Cerner has obtained accreditation from the Direct Trusted Agent Accreditation Program offered by DirectTrust and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission.
And why is Cerner taking this step? “The primary goal we have for our clients is to help create a trusted, reliable group of participants with which to securely exchange health care information using Direct protocols over the open internet, helping them reduce their liabilities by creating an efficient, secure method of communication based on best practices,” writes Andy Heeren of Cerner.
This sounds like a reasonable move toward greater data interoperability, if not an earthshaking one. It will be interesting to see where Cerner takes this.