Update: The idea has advanced in the comments – be sure to read them.

There’s a Twitter discussion bubbling right now about a “Green Button” idea that was proposed informally last year at HealthCamp SFBay. Here’s a link to our comments about it two months ago.

About the idea:

The idea is to give patients a chance to “Donate My Data” – to be a “data donor,” analogous to an organ donor, if they want to.

Why? Because a main obstacle to developing good personal health software is that developers need real clinical data for test purposes.

Example: long-time readers will remember way back in 2009 when my hospital sent insanely bad insurance data to Google Health. I later learned that insurance data is commonly crazy. So I concluded that they must not have had the opportunity to test it with real patient data – and I imagine a major reason for that would be the logistical pain of getting all the authorizations from patients to satisfy HIPAA privacy rules, and who knows what else.

This #GreenButton idea would bypass the whole issue by having patients say “Here – take my data.”

(Note: apparently something else was proposed as a different green button. That’s not this one.)