VA's online Blue Button medical app soon to add job data

Dept plans to roll out Military Occupation Specialty data in December

The Veterans Affairs department’s popular Blue Button online application, which gives veterans access to their own medical records, soon will provide users with job-related information as well.

In December, the VA plans to make available to Blue Button users information on the jobs they performed in the military. Access to their personal Military Occupation Specialty data will help the veterans locate job opportunities in the private sector, the agency announced in a customer service plan released on Oct. 24.

The military occupation specialty data includes codes denoting hundreds of jobs performed in military service, including specialties related to aviation, communication, artillery, language, engineering and infantry. Each military branch has its own code system. Many of the jobs utilize skills that can be applied to civilian jobs.

“This will be the first non-medical application of the Blue Button and will be featured on the National Resource Directory employment page and the VA’s VA for Vets website,” states the VA’s plan document. “Many websites will have a military skills translator, which will provide a list of civilian jobs matching the Veterans MOS data.”

The VA released the online Blue Button in August 2010 to users who have registered for the MyHealtheVet website. The application allows users to view and download their medical file either as a text file or an enhanced portable document file that can be saved on any computer and shared with care providers and family members. The download can include all their data, or can be a portion of their data.

Currently, about 1.1 million veterans are registered users of the VA’s Blue Button, and 330,000 unique users have downloaded their records, the VA said in the report. That represents about 5 percent who have registered, and 1.5 percent who have downloaded, of the estimated 22 million United States veterans.

The Blue Button was developed in collaboration with the Defense and Health and Human Services departments.

In a survey earlier this year, nearly 60 percent of Blue Button users who responded said they wanted VA lab test results to be available through the service, and the VA said it recently made those results available on the Blue Button.


About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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