Customer Service Signature Initiative in Review: VA’s Blue Button

Nearly one year ago, President Obama released the Executive Order mandating agencies to improve how agencies deliver customer service. Each agency was required to announce a “signature initiative.” Now is a good time to look back at the impact of the Executive Order. If you head over to you can find a full listing of all the
 signature initiatives
 that have taken place. I was looking through the initiatives and the one that caught my eye was the VA’s Blue Button Initiative, which is one of the more successful programs on the signature initiatives list from federal agencies. The Blue Button initiative was in the works before the Executive Order, this initiative in particular is having a far-reaching impact for millions of veterans, improving how health services are delivered to our vets.

With troops being drawn down and returning home, it is imperative that the federal government provide them with the resources, tools, and provide the right health care to help transition soldiers back to civilian life. This initiative is part of dozens of programs that the VA offers to help our vets make the transition.

VA Blue Button Initiative

“The VA implemented a new initiative — “Blue Button®” — designed to enable Veterans to view and download their personal health information from their My HealtheVet account. Veterans can do this when they are at home, at a medical center or anywhere that they have Internet access. The Blue Button is safe, secure and reliable. Veterans can download a file to a location that they choose. This file can also be used to help find therapies, treatments, and communities of care.”

The VA’s Blue Button initiative allows veterans to access and download their personal health record into a very simple text file or PDF. The document can be read, printed, or saved on any computer. By allowing easy access to health information, veterans have complete control of their health information. Veterans do not need any special software to access information, and allows them to quickly and efficiently share data with health care providers, or whoever the veteran trusts and needs to share information with.

The Blue Button Initiative has been tremendously successful for the VA. Not only has it revolutionized the way our Vets can access their medical records, it has also caught the eye of the private sector. Blue Button is a great example of government providing an improved service to customers.

This is a great initiative to highlight and learn from for federal agencies. Learn more about Blue Button 

What are some of your favorite examples from the Customer Service Memorandum? What are some of the successful programs in addition to the VA’s Blue Button?

Federal Consulting Group (FCG) is a franchise within the U.S. Department of the Interior. As the successor to the Federal Quality Institute, FCG has been advising and assisting federal agencies for more than 20 years with many of their senior consultants achieving results in large, high-profile government programs and projects. Check out their “Citizen Engagement & Customer Service” group on GovLoop as well as the
Communications & Citizen Engagement Sub-Community of which they are a
council member.

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