Dr. Neil Evans, chief officer of Connected Care at the Veterans Health Administration, discusses how the Blue Button system will be improved by the new VA Health API, and how data sharing has improved healthcare.
The new Veterans Affairs Health API allows companies to develop apps that can use the data. The API means that VA’s Blue Button system can get a huge overhaul. The service already helps consolidate data between Veterans Affairs providers, but this will allow further connectivity with out-of Dr. Neil Evans, chief officer of Connected Care at the Veterans Health Administration, says that information sharing capabilities have made big changes to the way that veterans get healthcare. “A long time ago when I started practicing medicine and a patient was seeing someone from outside of the VA, I wouldn’t often have any information,” Evans told Government Matters. “Then, people started to bring printouts of their records. Now oftentimes, the experience is that somebody hands their phone to me and they have logged in and I can look at their records from another healthcare system and the same thing happens when they go to other healthcare providers. They are sharing their information.” Evans says that patient behavior changes for the better when they can see all the data related to their medical care. “Veterans and patients have said that when they have access to their data, they feel more in control of their healthcare. We at the VA release all progress notes to patients so they can read the provider’s notes,” Evans told Government Matters. “And in a recent study, more than 75 percent [of] patients in general at both the private sector and VA healthcare said they felt more in control of their healthcare and more likely to take their medication as prescribed when they have access to their information.”