Patient Portals and Blue Button

Consumers have become increasingly knowledgeable and interested in personal health management. They research health topics online and seek electronic access to their health information to actively communicate and engage with their care providers. This enables them to be informed and participate in the care decisions being made.

A Patient Portal is an online website or mobile application that gives patients access to their personal health information. In a nut shell, a Patient Portal is a secure window for patients to access, review, understand, use and share their Electronic Health Records (EHR). Patient Portals typically link into the providers' EHR systems.

The advantages are numerous. For instance, access during emergencies can help avoid mistakes; review ensures accuracy; understanding stimulates adherence to care protocols; use enables interactions with the providers and personal care management; and sharing facilitates transitions of care to specialists and other care settings.

The government promotes electronic Patient anticipation that this will improve the quality of health care. HIPAA gives patients the right to ask for and receive their health information; CMS incorporated electronic engagement in its Meaningful Use requirements; and ONC promotes the use of Patient Portals via its Blue Button ® initiative. 

Blue Button

Blue Button started at the Veteran's Administration and has now been widely adopted by providers and health plans, including Medicare, across the country. ONC launched the Blue Button Movement to expand Blue Button access to Patient Portals nationwide. Wherever you see it, click the Blue Button icon on a Patient Portal to securely download your health records.

ONC's goal is to give all patients secure online access to their health records. Through the Blue Button Movement, ONC aims to assist consumers and patients to find out which care providers offer electronic access to their health records and what to do with them. ONC encourages patients to ask their providers about Blue Button access.

Blue Button is a registered trademark, but ONC made it available to anyone willing to adhere to its basic terms of use. As organizations have incorporated Blue Button, millions of Americans have gained access to their records.  

MeHI encourages Health IT vendors and care providers to adopt Blue Button. To learn more about the Blue Button Movement, visit and watch this promotional video.

Graphics shown on this page is sourced by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Blue Button, the slogan, ‘Download My Data,’ the Blue Button Logo, and the Blue Button Combined Logo are registered service marks owned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Advanced Patient Portal Features

Patient Portals provide access to healthcare information, such as doctor visits, medications, immunizations, allergies, lab results, and discharge summaries.

Advanced Patient Portals may also include features for email exchange with care providers, prescription refill requests, appointment scheduling, benefits coverage review, invoice payments, and patient education.

These features further the communication and engagement between patients and care providers. To learn more about Patient Portals, visit

Click here, to review the advantages for patients to access their information via Patient Portals.