Medicare Blue Button Information Can be Accessed Using a Smartphone App

What happens when your dad who lives 1,000 miles away comes for a visit, gets sick, and needs medical care? How can local doctors access his medical information?

MyMedicare.gov’s Medicare Blue Button is a computer program that allows patients on Medicare to download their medical history into a simple text file on their personal computers. Now, seniors can get the same Medicare data on their smartphones.

Blue Button downloads three years of medical history and the Humetrix iBlueButton, a smartphone app, translates and displays the information in a simple-to-understand way on your mobile device. The file includes names, phone numbers and addresses of physicians as well as diagnoses, lab tests, imaging studies, and medications. The Blue Button service is available from the federal government for veterans as well as Medicare beneficiaries. More similar apps are in the development phases and will become available within the next twelve months.

So, now when you take your dad who is visiting in for medical care, he can hand over his smartphone and provide his medical history to the doctor.

There are privacy concerns, however, about electronic health records and this type of information being shared on smartphones. Federal Trade Commission rules don’t extend to medical information on a smartphone. Medical information on a smartphone app is not going to be protected beyond what’s in the privacy policy for the app or what’s the privacy policy for the social networking site. So be aware before you share!

Did you know that, like medical records, your Advance Medical Directives can be stored electronically and available when they are needed most (on computers, but not via smartphone apps, yet)? These documents include your Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, HIPAA Release, Organ Donor Form, Funeral Arrangements, and all other Advance Directives. At The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firms of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we offer a service called DocuBank to ensure that that important legal documents will be there when you need them most, such as when you are hospitalized. If you haven’t done so already, plan for your Advance Medical Directives, and take advantage of this great service soon! Call us at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

P.S. For information about senior health and well-being apps, click here for a recent newsletter article. Subscribe to our newsletter.


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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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