Several years ago President Obama announced the Blue Button initiative for Veterans, in order that they could easily download their medical data and share it with doctors and hospitals. This initiative has now become more popular and it has expanded to become something that everyone can use to access their personal medical information. As a result over 1 million Americans have already downloaded their health records and the number is expected to increase dramatically in the near future.
This seems like a great idea, but the U.S. government has not found a more developed technological solution and simply provides patients with their data in usual plain text format. It doesn’t allow export of more complex information which are still important parts of patient historical information such as X-Ray images, defibrillator data, or other medical sensor and devices output, that can be useful for export as well. Why not use all these years’ efforts and all these medical standards like EMR, HL7 etc.? What If the IT industry were to follow this route and all systems outputted plain text to the end user and let them decide what to do with it?