SOURCE: PatientsLikeMe


January 23, 2012 10:04 ET

PatientsLikeMe Contributes Free Open-Source Parser to Blue Button Initiative

New Technology Improves Accessibility of Health Data for Patients, Veterans

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - Jan 23, 2012) - Today, PatientsLikeMe ( announces the contribution of a free open-source parser to better translate the heath data shared through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs' My HealtheVet, a result of the Obama Administration's "Blue Button" initiative. Launched in 2010, Blue Button helps patients easily download their health information and share it with providers, caregivers and others. To help increase participation in the initiative and make the data shared more meaningful, the PatientsLikeMe parser will translate free-text files into structured data that computer programs can read and use.

"This is just one of the ways we plan to contribute to the Administration's initiative to help patients, like the half million veterans using My HealtheVet," says Jamie Heywood, co-founder and chairman of PatientsLikeMe. "Imagine the potential to improve what we know in medicine if every health portal follows the lead of the VA to allow users to download data and those users and organizations can be reviewing and learning from it in the same format."

Developed by PatientsLikeMe co-founder and MIT engineer, Jeff Cole, the open-source parser may be accessed, used or improved by any programmer. Improvements made to the open-source parser are then contributed back so that others may benefit. Adds Cole, "It's nice to be able to make a difference in patients' lives while giving back to the developer community. We invite all talented developers to join in and do the same."

In addition to this special project, the company's growing team of software engineers, committed to sharing of technological innovation, typically uses the open-source web framework Ruby on Rails.

About PatientsLikeMe
PatientsLikeMe ( is the world's leading online health data sharing platform. PatientsLikeMe® creates new knowledge by charting the real-world course of disease through the shared experiences of patients. While patients interact to help improve their outcomes, the data they provide helps researchers learn how these diseases act in the real world and accelerate the discovery of new, more effective treatments. [Follow company news on and]