App developers are lining up to use an application programming interface that will let Medicare beneficiaries share their claims data with third-party apps.

So far, more than 600 developers have signed up to experiment with the API. The Blue Button 2.0 API leverages HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard for beneficiary data and the OAuth 2.0 standard for beneficiary authorization. Developers can build integrations to access more than four years of Medicare Part A, B and D data for 53 million Medicare beneficiaries.

“We’re trying to create this ecosystem where app developers can go and create tools that are really useful for beneficiaries and hopefully for the wider patient population,” said Mark Scrimshire, entrepreneur-in-residence at NewWave Telecoms and Technologies, who is currently on assignment as Blue Button 2.0 innovator at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Bloomberg/file photo

According to Scrimshire, the goal from the start was to build a developer-friendly, standards-based API so that Medicare beneficiaries can access and share their claims data in a universal digital format.

“We built Blue Button 2.0 on top of FHIR,” Scrimshire told the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s Interoperability Forum this week in Washington. “We’re making life easier for developers to work with the data. It’s going to take this wealth of data and turn it into useful information and actionable insights.”

In March, CMS announced the launch of the Blue Button 2.0 API at the HIMSS18 conference as part of the MyHealthEData initiative, an effort to put patients in control of their own healthcare information.

Also See: CMS launches Blue Button 2.0 to free up claims data

“With Blue Button 2.0, CMS is doing its part to support the MyHealthEData initiative,” Administrator Seema Verma told ONC’s Interoperability Forum. “CMS is leading to support MyHealthEData by releasing more data and taking action to drive interoperability and patient control of their data. We are calling on industry to follow our lead and step up to the challenge. It’s time for the rest of the industry to do its part. I have called on insurers to begin releasing claims data as we did with Blue Button 2.0, and make data available to patients.”

Verma also noted that a Blue Button 2.0 developer conference—which is at capacity—is being held on August 13 in Washington.

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