Blue Button Portal-Issue Alerts

What's New

Background

First Time Use

Creating Multiple Profiles

Acquiring Records from Blue Button Portals

The MyMedicare Blue Button Record

Acquiring Records using a Direct Address

Other ways to get Records into the App

The Summary Record

Sharing Records with Providers

Privacy and Security

iBlueButton for Android

Spread the Word


Blue Button Portal-Issue Alerts[top]

iOS Users
April 5, 2017 - Please remember to update your iBB app to the newest release (verson 7.09). The previous release had a compatibility issue with new iOS versions that prevented the proper download of MyHealteVet and Medicare records.

Medicare.gov
August 2017: If your iBlueButton app cannot download the Medicare Blue Button record it might be because Medicare has instituted a new policy requiring you to intermittently update the security question you initially selected. To do this you need to log into the My Medicare.gov portal where you will be prompted to pick a new security question. Once this is done, your iBlueButton app will again be able to download your Medicare record.

September 2015: Medicare has a new policy requiring a change of your MyMedicare.gov password every 60 days. After changing your password be sure to update your iBlueButton Medicare login credentials with your new password to continue to download your records. You will need to do this every 60 days or sooner.

Tricare Online
Tricare has a new policy requiring a change of your password every 90 days. After changing your password through the web portal be sure to update your iBlueButton Tricare login credentials with your new password to continue to download your records. You will need to do this every 90 days or sooner.


What's New[top]

What is the iBlueButton app?

For a short overview of iBlueButton view this video.

How do I find the App’s Current Release Number?

You can find the app’s latest release number at iTunes under the app’s “Information” section. There is also a “full version number” that can be helpful if you report an issue with the app. To find the full release number for the version you have installed, tap “About” in the lower-right of the Profile screen and the app’s current, fully-qualified version number is displayed as the header of the About screen. This number is the “fully-qualified” version, meaning it has all digits of the version number, e.g., 7.09.620. If you require support for the app and contact Humetrix, we may ask you for this entire version number.

How do I Update My Version of the App?

For Apple devices, if you are running the latest version of Apple’s iOS operating system, the app should be updated automatically when we publish new versions of the app. If this doesn’t seem to be the case, open the Apple app, “App Store”, tap “Updates” in the lower right, scroll down until you get to the iBlueButton app, and then tap the “UPDATE” button.


Background[top]

What is the iBlueButton App?

The iBlueButton iPhone app is an award winning app designed by a team of physicians and technologists committed to providing individuals secure and convenient access to their personal health information – and the personal health information of their loved ones – so that they can directly share this information with their doctors wherever they are seen. iBlueButton is also the leading and most-decorated mobile implementation of the nationwide Blue Button initiative (see next question).

What is Blue Button?

Blue Button is a national initiative, originally launched by the Veterans Administration in 2010 but which has now spread industry wide, with the objective of making it easy for Americans to access, view and share their medical records. To learn more about Blue Button, please visit: http://www.healthit.gov/bluebutton.

What Platforms / Devices Does iBlueButton Run On?

iBlueButton is currently available on iOS devices (iPhone, iTouch, iPad and iPad Mini) and Android Phones.

Can I Run iBlueButton on an iPad or iPad Mini?

Yes, the iBlueButton app runs great on an iPad.

Who Makes the iBlueButton App?

iBlueButton is the creation of Humetrix.com, a privately-help, healthcare information technology (HIT) company with over 20 years of experience developing novel mobile-health solutions. Located in the city of Del Mar in the north-coastal part of San Diego County, you can learn more about Humetrix from our website at http://www.humetrix.com.


First Time Use[top]

Do I Have To Create a Password for the App?

No, the app does not require you to set a password for it; this is optional. If you do not want to password protect the app, just tap “I don’t want to use a password” during your first time use of the app.

Why Would I Want a Password for the App?

Although not required, we do encourage you to set a password for the app as this adds an additional level of security for the app. Since many people prefer to secure their personal health information, we have added this optional password. When you have a password set, every time you leave the app in any way and return to it, you are required to enter in the password.

Why Would I NOT Want a Password for the App?

It’s a personal preference, really. If you are the only person who uses your device, and you have already set-up a passcode for the device (or have a biometric-thumb challenge set for the device such as is available on an recent iPhone models), you may not see the need for this additional password setting for the iBlueButton app itself.

How Can I Reset My Password and Password-Protection Choice?

When you are on the Profiles screen, simply tap “Reset” in the lower-left-hand corner to change your password and/or change your password-protection choice (from requiring or not-requiring a password).

What’s a Profile?

A profile is the representation of one person, and is used to store all of the personal information and medical records for that person in the app.

After this first password selection step, you can add your first profile to the app by selecting “Add a Profile”. We encourage you to complete all the information you can as your profile information will be included as part of any Blue Button or other health information you share with a provider, making it easier for a given provider to have quick access to your complete profile. On this screen, you will also see the option “Add from Address Book +”. If you tap this, you will be able to quickly add Profile information from one of your phone’s contact. For example, if you are creating a profile for an elderly parent and you have that parent’s contact information already on your phone, you can tap this option to quickly add that contact’s fields to this profile.

What Data is Required in a Profile?

At a minimum, the first and last name are required fields in a profile. We need at least these two fields to create a suitable profile name and Direct Address for the profile (see below for more information on Direct Addresses).

What Does a Complete Profile Contain?

When you tap down on a created profile and then tap down on Settings, we give you a number of additional important features regarding the currently-selected profile. When you tap “Update Profile” from the Settings screen, you will see some helpful additional information over-and-above the Personal Details you may have entered for the profile when it was first created:

  1. My Personal Details – Go back to this to update the core information about this profile, including adding a photo for the profile.
  2. My Direct Address – This is where you can access the unique Direct Address created for the profile.
  3. My Emergency Contact – Let’s you add an emergency contact for the profile, and you can also pick from your Contacts list to make it fast and easy to do this.
  4. My Primary Physician – Enter in all of the details for this profile’s Primary Physician.
  5. My Insurance Information – Enter in all of the insurance details for this profile, including the ability take a picture of your insurance card.
  6. My Secondary Insurance – Enter in the details and card for any secondary insurance.
  7. My Pharmacy – Enter in the Pharmacy details for this profile, including the ability to pick from your Contacts.

What is “Add from Address Book+”?

This convenient feature automatically fills out the core profile fields from one of your phone’s contact. For example, if you are creating a profile for your husband or wife and you already have their contact information in your phone’s contacts, then you can use this feature to quickly populate the core profile fields for this profile.

Can I Add a Medical Insurance Card to a Profile?

Yes, under both a profile’s “My Insurance Information” and “My Secondary Insurance”, you have the option of taking a photo of your insurance card and thereby adding it to a given profile.

What’s a Portal?

A portal as we refer to it here is a website from a holder of healthcare information who offers access to this website for individuals to retrieve their health information. Further, this provider has enabled their portal with a Blue Button capability, meaning a patient can login to the patient portal, navigate to the appropriate page, and then download their Blue Button record.

To date, iBlueButton supports Blue-Button enabled portals: (1) My HealtheVet from the Veterans Administration, (2) MyMedicare from CMS, (3) TRICARE Online for active-duty military, and (4) RelayHealth, a health information exchange portal.

If you have an account at any of these data holders, then simply tap on the portal’s name and enter your credentials (username and password)you have set to access the portal. Once you do this, the app will be ready to access and download your Blue Button record from that portal right down to the app (see the section “Acquiring Blue Button and Other Medical Records” for details on how to do this).

Can I Add in Portal Credentials Later (Instead of During My First Time Use)?

Yes, simply tap a profile, then tap Settings in the lower-right corner, then tap “Medical Record Portals”.

What Is a Direct Address?

A Direct Address is used to securely receive health records from healthcare providers, including from EMR (electronic medical record) systems used by most provider and hospitals, and their patient portals. To receive medical records from doctors or hospitals which have Direct Address-compliant systems, you will need to either give providers your Direct Address, or enter it into the provider’s patient portal. The iBlueButton automatically creates a unique Direct Address for each profile you create. To do this, tap “Create New Direct Address” from this screen and the app will create a unique Direct Address for this profile.

For additional information on Direct Addresses, see other Direct-Address questions throughout this document.

What is “Recover Existing Direct Address” For?

This is used if you are using iBlueButton on more than one device (e.g., an iPhone and an iPad), and you have previously created a Direct Address from another device for a given profile. In this instance, tap this recover option and enter in your previously-created Direct Address. When you do this, you will need to enter in the four-digit PIN you were given when you created this Direct Address.

What is the PIN Associated with a Direct Address?

When you create a new Direct Address, you are then taken to a screen that displays the unique Direct Address for the profile, and also creates a unique four-digit PIN that is used to recover this profile’s Direct Address from another device in the future (see above under “Recover Existing Direct Address”). This PIN is used for security, and is required to recover a Direct Address.

How Do I Recover My PIN If I Forget It?

Since it is an important security measure in recovering a Direct Address, you cannot get your PIN back in case you forget or lose it. RECOMMENDATION: When the app first creates a Direct Address and you are presented with the screen that reports your PIN, capture the screen and save it to your camera roll.


Creating Multiple Profiles[top]

Can I Create Additional Profiles?

Yes, you can create an unlimited number of patient profiles with iBlueButton.

How Do I Create Additional Profiles?

After you launch the app and tap Continue on the Welcome screen, you are taken to the Profiles screen. Tap “Add Profile” to add another profile. This will walk you through a similar set of steps that you did during your first use (core profile screen, portals-screen, and Direct-Address creation/recovery screen).

Who Should I Create Profiles For?

Create profiles for any person who you may care for, including those for whom you have healthcare power of attorney. In a typical example, a mother may create profile for herself, her husband, her children, her parents, and any other people who she may care for.


Acquiring Records from Blue Button Portals[top]

How Do I Download a Blue Button Record from a Blue Button Enabled Portal?

After you have set credentials for a given portal within a profile, then that portal will appear as an option when you tap down on the portal’s name from the profile, just below the Summary Record. Simply tap that portal, and then tap, “Download from Portal”. The iBlueButton app will then automatically access and retrieve your Blue Button record from this portal.

To view a previously downloaded Blue Button record, tap the portal name and select “View Record”.

What Portals Does the App Support?

To date, iBlueButton supports these Blue-Button enabled portals: (1) My HealtheVet from the Veterans Administration, (2) MyMedicare from CMS, (3) TRICARE Online for active-duty military, and (4) RelayHealth.

Why the App Doesn’t Support More Portals?

Very few Blue Button data holders have adopted the type of open standards allowing apps like iBlueButton to pull or receive Blue Button records. That is why iBlueButton only supports these Blue Button enabled portals at this time.

Starting in 2014, physician and hospital electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems have now embedded the Direct transmission protocol that will allow apps to receive Blue Button and other medical records, and this is why Humetrix has put so much effort implementing Direct Addresses into the latest version of iBlueButton.

What Should I Tell to My NOT-Supported Doctor or Hospital?

Ask them if they, or their EMR (electronic medical records) vendor, have implemented the Direct Address protocol for the secure exchange of medical records. If they did, ask them to make use of the functionality, and if they haven’t, then tell them they should! For more on Direct Addresses, see sections and questions throughout this FAQ.

What Format Are Blue Button Records In? How Come They Look Different From Different Providers?

In the most typical instance, the Blue Button record comes in a plain-text file. The reason for this is that one of the guiding principles of the Blue Button initiative was to make it simple, and this is why a plain-text file and simple layout was chosen.

But this is where the commonalities between Blue Button record providers often ends as different providers may have access to different medical history data. For example, Medicare often has full claims data, so the Medicare Blue Button record is often more complete than other Blue Button records.

Additionally, different providers may offer the Blue Button record in formats other than text. For example, Aetna transforms the Blue Button text record into an Aetna branded and beautified PDF layout, but not in a machine readable standardized format which apps like iBlueButton can use to rearrange the information in useful and actionable sections. We expect more and more Blue Button and medical records to adhere to industry standards so that the data we receive in these records is in a structured format to be fully usable. For example, receiving records via Direct often delivers to us what’s called a C-CDA (Consolidated CDA), which is a standard for of a structured medical record.

The Blue Button Download From One of the Blue Button Enabled Portals Isn’t Working; What Are Some Common Causes of This?

Here are the most common causes of Blue Button record download failures and how to fix them:


The MyMedicare Blue Button Record[top]

Why Does The MyMedicare Blue Button Record Display in a Pretty Dashboard?

In response to federally-sponsored industry challenges, in 2012 Humetrix introduced a significantly-improved, interactive display for the Medicare Blue Button record that we call the MyMedicare Blue Button Dashboard.” If you are a Medicare beneficiary and download your MyMedicare Blue Button record using an iBlueButton phone app, then you will enjoy this interactive display when you tap down on your MyMedicare Blue Button record. There are a lot of features in this display, including some “behind-the-scenes” app features that warrant the following additional detail –


Acquiring Records using a Direct Address[top]

How Do I Get Records into iBlueButton Using My Direct Address?

When you see a provider and you find out that they are using new EMRs which are Direct enabled, just give them your Direct Address and tell them to send you your medical record(s) via Direct.

When they send/transmit you a record, you will receive a push notification that the record has arrived. Swipe over on that push notification and iBlueButton will open and take you to the record that was received.

Some provider patient portals also allow you to enter your Direct Address into the portal, and then send yourself (to your Direct Address) medical records available from that provider.

Note that each profile you create will have its own unique Direct Address, so be sure to use the correct one for the records you want to receive.

My Doctor Sent Me a Record To My Direct Address But I Didn’t Receive It; Why?

Please double check your Direct Address with your Doctor, ensure that it is correct, and ask them to send you the record again.

If this doesn’t fix it, then the most likely scenario is that your provider has not yet applied all the rules required to transmit records to their patients.

How Do I Recover a Direct Address For a New Device?

When you set-up your profile on a new device, tap the “Recover existing Direct Address” when presented. You will need to know your input your first/last name and the PIN associated with your Direct Address.

I Already Have a Direct Address that I Received From a Different Provider; Can I Use This with iBlueButton?

No, you have to use the Direct Address created for you by iBlueButton to receive messages to iBlueButton.

I Entered My Direct Address Into My Patient Portal and Nothing Happened?

Entering in your Direct Address is just the first step. Ideally, your patient portal provider has implemented the ability to choose a medical record, and then send it to your Direct Address. It’s this ability to select a record and then send it that needs to happen before you will receive it into iBlueButton.

Can I Use an Email Client Like Outlook or the Apple Mail Client To Receive Direct-Address Messages?

No. The Direct Address protocol has a whole layer of backend infrastructure, security, and an approval process that is not available in off-the-shelf email clients. These are the measures put in place to ensure that the Direct Address protocol is secure and appropriate for exchanging medical records.


Other ways to get Records into the App[top]

How Else Can I Get Other Medical Records Into the App?

There are three primary ways to add other health records to iBlueButton: (1) with the Photo/Camera feature, (2) by transferring documents from other apps such as the Dropbox app into iBlueButton with the “Open In” feature, and (3) by receiving records from your Doctor’s iPad with the iBlueButton Professional app. See below for more details.


The Summary Record[top]

What Is The Summary Record at the Top of a Profile?

The iBlueButton app automatically creates a “Summary Record” from standardized Blue Button records you receive in your app, as well as downloaded Medicare Blue Button records. The standardized Blue Button records are Blue Button records that comply with new, structured Blue Button format standards which meet federal regulations governing the use of EMRs by physicians and hospitals, and that are typically received into the app using the Direct Address protocol described throughout this FAQ. This Summary Record includes a list of Conditions, Medications, and Immunizations with convenient look-up of these Conditions and Medications from MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health.

Can I Self-Enter Data Into the Summary Record?

Yes! We have made it easy and fast to self-enter Medications, Conditions, Allergies and Immunizations right into the Summary Record. Under each of these four categories, simply tap the encircled ‘+’ icon, and you will be presented with a scrollable pick-list where you can chose the item you want to add.

How Can I Learn More About Medications, Conditions, and Immunizations?

We have added convenient look-up to Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health, directly in the iBlueButton app. Simply tap down on a given medication, condition, or immunization, and then two panels will get expanded below the selected item. In the second panel, swipe to the right until you get the “Medline Plus” logo. Tap that logo and you will be taken to the official informational entry for that item.

What Are The Currently Taking / Currently Experiencing Panels?

Under Medications, if you select a medication, you can indicate if you are currently taking it. You can also indicate if you are experiencing any side effects.

Under Conditions, you can similarly indicate if you are currently experiencing the condition, and also indicate if the condition was reported in error (if it came from a Blue Button or other medical record download).

Medications or conditions which are no longer taken or experience will then be moved out of the Current section into the Past section.

You can then share these annotations with your provider at the point of care.

What does the Privacy Warning Annotation Let Me Do?

The iBlueButton app lets you mask portions of your Summary Record in annotating information with a privacy check mark (shown as a padlock symbol). Data marked this way will not be included in the printed Summary Record or shared with providers to whom you will push your record to their iPads.

Why Don’t All of My Medications, Conditions, Allergies and Immunizations Show Up In My Summary Record from Blue Button and Other Medical Records that I Receive?

Some records that we download and receive into the app are not in a format that the iBlueButton app can parse and understand, and in these situations, we are not able to process and add this information to the Summary Record. In these cases, we recommend self-entering this data.

How Can I Synchronize My Profile and Medical Records to Other Devices?

We currently do not support this but are considering this feature for a later release.


Sharing Records with Providers[top]

How Do I Share a Blue Button or Other Medical Record with my Physician?

The iBlueButton app is an important part of Humetrix’ iBlueButton Platform, but it is not the only part. It works in tandem with our provider iPad app called "iBlueButton Professional." Together, these apps allow for the secure, fast and convenient exchange of medical records between patients and providers, in close proximity, at the point of care or during a telemedicine session.

And this is all initiated with iBlueButton’s easy-to-use "Push" feature. Just tap down on a profile and then tap a Blue Button, other medical record or the Summary Record that is part of the profile. Then select the “Share with Doctor’s iPad” button, and when you do that, after a few seconds, you will be presented with a Quick Response or QR code. Present this QR code to your provider, who taps the Receive button on his iBlueButton Professional app, hovers their camera lens over the QR code, and then in a matter of moments the record is securely transmitted to the doctor’s iPad receiving device!

Additionally, the patient’s full profile information is included "on-board" with every record shared with their provider, making it easy for the provider to retrieve a patient’s profile information.

Can a Provider Share Information Back to Me?

Yes! We have built the same push/sharing functionality into the iPad iBlueButton Professional app. Following the same user experience as the phone app, the provider selects the record (or treatment instructions, visit summary, etc.) that they want to share with their patient, and then that provider taps the Push button from iBlueButton Professional to initiate the generation of a QR code that the patient scans with their device’s camera (by tapping the Receive button on their device). Additionally, the provider can create a variety of templated notes such as a Visit Summary, Patient Instructions or Referral Note, and share that note directly back to their patient.

Can I Also Share Information via Email?

Yes, as a convenience to our users, we support emailing Blue Button and health records via our email feature, accessed within a profile by tapping on a record and then selecting “Email Record”. We display a privacy warning when this feature is selected as a reminder that email is not a secure way to transfer medical information. A more secure ways are via iBlueButton’s Push feature as described above.

My Physician Doesn’t Have iBlueButton Professional; How Can I Tell Them About It?

Easy – we have provided a feature in iBlueButton that makes it easy to share the iBlueButton Professional app with your provider. From a given profile’s screen, simply tap, "Tell My Doctor about iBlueButton". This will then bring up a pre-written email that you can send to your physician with all the details they need to get the iBlueButton Professional app, including a direct link to iBlueButton Professional in Apple’s iTunes store.

Blue Button and Other Medical Record Sharing Isn’t Working; What are Some Common Causes and Fixes for This?

The most common cause of failure on pushes is if the sending and/or receiving device does not have any connection to the Internet. If you are having trouble completing a push, please check this first.


Privacy and Security[top]

Where is the App’s Privacy Policy?

Our Privacy Policy is located off of the About screen in the app. The About is accessible from the lower-right-hand corner of the Profiles screen.

Does the App Share my PHI (Personal Health Information) with Any Other Entities Other Than Those Providers Who I Directly Share my Data With?

Absolutely not.

Keeping Private Portions of my Summary Record

The iBlueButton app lets you mask portions of your Summary Record in annotating information with a privacy check mark (shown as a padlock symbol). Data marked this way will not be included in the printed Summary Record or shared with providers to whom you will push your record to their iPads.

What Security Measures Are Present In the App?

We take security very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that this will be a long, and sometimes technical answer. Here we go –

1. Access and Authorization
iBlueButton implements and recommends the following access-and-authorization security measures:

2. Encryption and Technical Security
All data stored across the iBlueButton apps are AES-256 encrypted using a random key. When any two iBlueButton apps exchange data, encryption keys are embedded in the QR code used to exchange data between the sending and receiving devices. We encrypt the data to be transferred using AES-256. When complete, we throw away the shared secret and redo the entire process the next time we need to do an exchange. This means that every data transfer is unique and secure from every other data transfer.

3. Physical/Proximity Security
When data is transferred between the iBlueButton and iBlueButton Professional apps, it can only happen when the two devices running the apps are in close proximity to each other since a transmit requires that the receiving device actually hover its camera over the sending device’s QR code.

The data is encrypted and transferred in the secure manner described above (under "Encryption and Technical Security").

Furthermore, and importantly, the sender and receiver of the data are in close and visual proximity of each other when proceeding with the iBlueButton data exchange; which is initiated, accepted and completed while the two parties, patient and provider, are exchanging information and are directly communicating verbally and visually.

One final point about physical security: iBlueButton apps can only send and receive data from other resident, iBlueButton apps. On both sides of the transaction, each user must be running an iBlueButton app for the apps to communicate with each other.

4. Built in Security Warnings
Throughout the iBlueButton apps, anytime that personal health information (PHI) is exchanged or exported from the app in any way, we display a Privacy Warning that the user must take action on via the tap of an Okay button. We worked with health privacy and patient-advocacy leaders in drafting our privacy warnings, and continue to work with these individuals as our iBlueButton app platform evolves.

As a convenience feature, our iBlueButton apps do offer the ability to email Blue Button records and other PHI out of a given app. This, however, is under users’ control and they must confirm through a privacy warning before doing so.


iBlueButton for Android[top]

Is iBlueButton available for Android?

Yes, iBlueButton is available for Android, and its version number matches the version numbers we maintain for the iOS / Apple version of iBlueButton.

Are the features of iBlueButton Android the same as iBlueButton for iOS / Apple?

Yes, all features should work the same between both versions.

What Android devices and operating systems are supported?

Recommended devices are ones released over the last 18 months running contemporary versions of the Android operating-system. For example, recent Samsung releases are typically good choices.

Regarding device specifics, what is the minimum screen resolution and memory requirements?

We strongly suggest a minimum screen resolution of 480x800 and memory of 500mbs.

How will I know when an update to the app is available?

If you have setup to automatically update the apps you will just get the update. Otherwise you will have to manually install the update. If you have missed the notification, you can get the update by navigating to My Apps under the menu in the Playstore app.


Spread the Word[top]

How can I Tell Others About iBlueButton?

Tell all your friends, family and colleagues about the Blue Button initiative and Humetrix’ iBlueButton apps. Direct links to all of our iBlueButton apps are available on our website at http://www.ibluebutton.com

What Other Apps Does Humetrix Make?

Humetrix makes an award-winning "In Case of Emergency" app SOS-QR as well as an app to manage your Blood Pressure Teniso