Submit and Vote on BlueButton Ideas

At Health Datapalooza, Health Tech Hatch announced the Blue Button CoDesign Challenge. Certainly we’ve seen hundreds of challenges come out over the past couple years, but this challenge is a bit different.

Most challenges provide a prize for some goal and then teams of people get together to create a product or service that helps achieve that goal. In the BlueButton CoDesign Challenge they’re starting by asking patients the question, “Build me a Blue Button-enabled tool that….” So far 74 ideas have been submitted as answers to that question. Hundreds of comments have been added on each idea and thousands have voted on which idea has the most potential.

I do have some concern with how they’re doing the voting. I think it’s a mistake to display how many votes each idea has, because then it skews people’s future vote. The same goes for listing the top ideas on the home page. That encourages the casual visitor to just vote on the top ideas which gives the top ideas an unfair advantage. Plus, if someone like me tweets out my idea and gets my followers to vote for me, then I automatically skew to the top page. In fact, this voting reminds me a bit of the upper right quadrant syndrome that Jonathan Bush talked about at TEDMED.

Of course, there are always issues when you deal with voting. However, I love the idea of getting the patient crowd involved in sharing their ideas of how to make healthcare better. For example, e-Patient Dave offered this great idea on managing the pills you take. He’s right that all of the data is there, so why hasn’t someone built it? The answer is likely that it’s not the focus of the people that have the data. This is why EHR APIs are so important.

Just reading through the list of ideas is quite inspiring. I’ll be interested to see which ideas win and if any developers jump on board to build those ideas. The problem with most people is that they’d rather build their own ideas than someone else’s.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.