In 2010, the White House launched a series of MyData initiatives “to ensure all Americans have easy and secure access to their own personal data, whether related to health, energy, nance, or education.” The goal of MyData is to empower consumers with their own data to put them “in the driver’s seat to make informed choices.
High profile examples of MyData include Blue Button and Green Button. The Blue Button initiative began by making individual medical data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs available to veterans, but has since expanded to serve a much wider constituency. The initiative is designed to help individuals track their health, correct errors in their medical records, and improve the sharing of health information between doctors, patients, and families. The Green Button initiative provides data about residential and commercial energy usage to help save money on energy costs. Other notable MyData initiatives include My Social Security and My Student Data.
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a “Blue Button 2.0” with the release of a new API. “Blue Button API adds new value for Medicare beneficiaries, providers, care organizations and health applications,” a U.S. Digital Service (USDS) blog post on the announcement reads. “It supports various use cases in the areas of healthcare and life sciences. More specifically, Blue Button reduces patient burden, streamlines comprehensive longitudinal health information, and uncovers new insights about patient care.” According to the USDS blog post, the “API enables pharmacies to determine if a beneficiary gets healthier over time due to medication adherence.”
MyData initiatives do not simply make it easier for citizens to access their personal information. According to a White House blog post, they also “raise the bar for both public and private organizations, empowering consumers through public-private data interoperability, security and access.” Green Button data, for example, is reviewed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s cyber-security team to ensure that it does not contain any personally identifiable information.