Please see below OSEHRA interview with Matthew McCall, an inaugural Presidential Innovation Fellow and founding member of the OSEHRA team. In it, Matthew shares his experience in advancing the highly successful "Blue Button" for America program ... ENJOY! Conrad Clyburn, Director, Community Development, OSEHRA
Blue Button Champion Reflects on White House Experience
Arlington, Virginia – Matthew McCall, a founding member of the team that established OSEHRA, (the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent), recently shared his impressions as he completed his six-months assignment as a Presidential Innovation Fellow. The Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program paired top private sector innovators with government agencies to develop solutions to save lives, taxpayer money, and to fuel job creation.
Mr. McCall was selected in July 2012 as one of eighteen inaugural Fellows to bring rapid innovation to a set of high visibility federal initiatives. The initial cadre of projects included Blue Button for America, MyUSA (formerly known as MyGov), RFP-EZ, Better Than Cash, and Open Data Initiatives.
Matthew and his team of two other Fellows, Dr. Henry Wei and Ryan Panchadsaram, worked to enhance the “Blue Button for America” program while emphasizing that all of their work be compatible with open source. “The Presidential Innovation Fellows program has been an unparalleled opportunity to create positive and disruptive change in the federal sector,” recalled Mr. McCall as he neared completion of the fellowship program. “We worked on driving wider adoption and use of Blue Button in the public and private sector, lowering barriers to entry for developers to work with Blue Button, and providing the Veterans Administration (VA) with new capabilities for its My HealtheVet personal health record (PHR) which leverages Blue Button technology,” observed Matthew. “When the program achieves its long term objectives, the Blue Button for America Program will provide the ability for millions of Americans to securely view, download, and transmit their health records in an industry standard format from electronic health record systems to practically any individual or system in the nation. Our work with VA not only constitutes a large step in this direction by allowing Veterans to download a machine-readable copy of the record VA is sharing with other providers, but the production code that makes it possible is written entirely in open-source and running on an open-source platform.”
The VA is a leader in Blue Button, having initially conceived the project, they have expanded to where over 650,000 Veterans have conducted 1.2 million downloads to date. Many private sector organizations are also embracing Blue Button, including United HealthCare and Aetna.
In January 2013, Matthew and his team launched a significant expansion of the VA Blue Button. The expansion includes the ability to download a Continuity of Care Document (CCD) that contains a summary of the Veteran’s essential health information in XML format. This record includes a growing set of data including demographics, vital signs, lab results, problem lists, allergies, immunizations, medications, and encounter history.
The code that enables this download, as well as the entire My HealtheVet solution and applicable supporting code either have been or are in the process of being contributed to OSEHRA.
“With these contributions, now the benefits of open source VA has seen for VistA can be expanded to support its patient portal,” notes Matthew. “By expanding beyond M-based coding and looking at Java based applications, I believe OSEHRA can expand its value to a far larger footprint of VA and begin catalyzing innovation in exciting new ways.”
As far as his advice to those interested in the Presidential Innovation Fellow program, Matt says, “Just do it! If you want to make a difference in government, the incredible level of executive support given to Fellows provides real opportunities to make an impact.” The next class of Presidential Fellowship will be selected in mid –March 2013; for more information visit www.whitehouse.gov/innovationfellows.
We are very proud of Matt for his significant contribution toward accelerating heath IT innovations. We wish him the best as he returns to private sector.
OSEHRA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating innovation in electronic health record software and related technology. Founded in 2011, the organization supports an open, collaborative community of users, developers, and researchers engaged in advancing electronic health record software and related health information technology. OSEHRA hosts software repositories for applications such as the Department of Veterans Affairs’ VistA electronic health record.
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Contact:Seong K. Mun, PhD President and CEO OSEHRA munsk@osehra,org