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Genie MD announced as winner of Blue Button app challenge

The winner of the ONC Blue Button Co-Design Challenge is Genie MD, according to ONC officials, who announced the winner this week. The challenge was designed to highlight medical applications that meet patient needs while utilizing Blue Button +, a set of technology specifications that allows patients to use third-party apps to download their health data from participating providers. Providers’ use of Blue Button will allow more patients to securely access their data on mobile devices, ONC Management and Program Analyst Adam Wong writes.

The Genie MD app, available for iOS and Android, allows users to check their symptoms and find nearby providers. It can also warn patients of potentially negative drug interactions. Blue Button + data is sent to the app, which then breaks it down and presents any notable information to the patient. The app is aimed primarily at helping those with chronic diseases. Nearly half of American adults are living with a chronic disease and chronic diseases account for greater than 75% of the more than $2.5 trillion spent yearly on healthcare in the U.S., according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Blue Button Challenge, announced at Health Datapalooza in June by Farzad Mostashari, M.D., the outgoing national coordinator for health IT, attracted 80 product ideas and concluded with a public vote. ONC launched the contest in part to encourage the widespread adoption of Blue Button. Blue Button began as a service that allowed veterans to access health information. As of a year ago, more than half a million veterans had downloaded their records simply by clicking a blue button on a website.

Adoption of Blue Button is meant to encourage patients to participate in their own care. The ONC has reinforced this point by involving patients in some of the steps they’ve taken toward creating a public version of Blue Button. ONC’s Standards and Interoperability Framework group sought public opinion on building uses cases and standards for Blue Button during a meeting held last year. Allowing a public vote on the app challenge is another example that ONC wants Blue Button to be for the people and by the people.