Frequently Asked Questions

The Blue Button Connector is a website that helps people get started finding out about where they might be able to get their own health information online. This web site is about transparency—as it continues to get populated it aims to let people know what is and is not available today. The site also helps people find applications (apps) and tools that are available to manage and make use of their electronic health data. The Blue Button Connector is not a repository or government database that houses patients' health information or pulls that information from various sources into a single place.

The Blue Button Connector also helps developers find out what type of electronic health data is being shared with people so they can build applications (apps) and tools that utilize that health data to help consumers better understand and use their health information. It’s a tool for use by multiple parties that creates transparency about the increasing availability of structured health data and where organizations are along the continuum of adopting and implementing ways that patients can access and use their health data online.

The Blue Button Connector was born out of a need for consumers to have a single place to get started finding and accessing their personal health information online. Although the number of organizations providing people with online access to their health information is growing (and is expected to increase significantly via implementation by eligible providers and hospitals of the Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements that patients be able to view, download and transmit their health records electronically), many consumers still do not know how or where to access their health data from any source.

No, you will not find any of your own health information on the Blue Button Connector. The Blue Button Connector takes you to the doorstep of the organization(s) (such as hospitals, labs, pharmacies, or health information exchanges) that have your health information online so you can log-in to get your electronic health information.

If an individual requests a copy of his or her protected health information, the HIPAA Privacy Rule permits providers to charge reasonable, cost-based fees that cover the cost of copying (including supplies and labor) to provide you with a copy of your protected health information. They cannot, however, charge you a fee for searching for or retrieving your records.

No. If an individual requests a copy of his or her protected health information, under the HIPAA Privacy Rule a provider cannot deny you a copy of your records because you have not paid for the services you have received. If you request an electronic copy of protected health information, a covered entity is required to provide you with such electronic copy to the extent it is readily producible.

Through being listed on the Connector, health data holders can signal to current or future patients or consumers transparency around the engagement services they provide. Increasingly, consumers expect easy electronic access to a wide variety of goods and services. The same expectation is now being extended to health care. Being on the Connector will help create more visibility around the providers and health data holders filling this need.

The Blue Button Connector only recently launched in 2014. There remains an ongoing effort to add new organizations to the site and to have organizations create and manage their own profiles. If you can’t find your provider on the Blue Button Connector, they may still offer online access. Check with your provider’s office and ask them if they offer online access to health records, and how you can start using this feature.

If your provider only offers certain services electronically, you can ask them if they plan to provide additional services. Many providers are still working on adopting EHR technologies and their roadmaps for enabling certain electronic capabilities may vary. The menu items are listed so we can capture all the functionalities we know are either currently available or will be in the future.

The Blue Button Connector is a free and voluntary site for organizations to be listed – so as to provide better transparency to their consumers. Organizations must be providing one or more of the following features: displaying the Blue Button symbol, providing ability to view records, ability to download records, ability to securely send records to preferred application, ability to receive automatic updates among other individual features. As it relates to applications and other tools, organizations featured there must be able to ingest structured health data. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) does not provide any monetary or other transactional incentives to organizations listed on the Connector. ONC does not endorse any product, service or general policies or the organizations listed on the Connector.

ONC does not endorse any product, service or policies of the organizations listed on the Connector. The applications and tools listed are merely there to share with consumers’ better transparency about what applications are currently available on the market. ONC has not screened any of the applications listed on the Connector for their safety provisions. ONC encourages all consumers to read the privacy policies of any application before committing to usage. The Federal Trade Commission’s Health Breach Notification Rule does require applications to notify consumers in case there is a data breach. Consumers are encouraged to learn more about their rights via the Health Breach Notification Rule here.