Medicare and the Veterans Administration this fall will enhance their Web sites by adding a "Blue Button" that will enable beneficiaries to download, in a common format, their claims and medical information held by Medicare and the VA.

The information could include summaries of care, current medications and test results. A new policy paper from the New York-based Markle Foundation, recommends a number of privacy and security practices that the federal agencies and other holders of patient information should take when offering similar Blue Button services.

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