Opportunities and challenges for healthcare APIs
Picture an ideal healthcare environment where fitness trackers, patient apps, hospital systems, pharmacy software, and lab tools effortlessly exchange data. In this imagined world, any concerned party — from patient to physician to medical researcher — can instantly access corresponding files via smartphones.
But the reality looks quite different. Over 90 percent of US patients from all 50 states complain about the lack of data sharing, with 67 percent planning to change care providers because of it. Source
What’s even more surprising is that faxes and phone calls remain the communication means of choice in health departments across the country that invented the Internet.
When the pandemic shook the very foundation of healthcare systems, several hospitals became unavailable at a time when they were most needed. It was a cultural shock for the industry to have to function remotely and provide healthcare as a virtual service. While the new normal evolved, healthcare practitioners and patients soon adapted to the use of technology – from telemedicine and virtual consultations to centralized healthcare information storage, digital payments, and so on – all of which is now leading the way to a new era in healthcare services.
The Challenges in Healthcare Data Management
With the healthcare industry shifting towards value-based care with more focus on the patient, immersive experiences have increased patient data several-fold. The rate at which healthcare data is generated at various touchpoints is growing exponentially. As the amount of data accumulated increases, it has become evident that a robust data management strategy is imperative to manage data and leverage it to generate actionable insights effectively to improve the holistic health of members and patients. Some of the main challenges in the management of such data include:
The disparate healthcare landscape and operational silos
Rapid changes in healthcare data sources, types, volumes
Positioning EMR/EHRs to absorb the increasing changes in data
Stringent industry regulations on how data is handled
Unique challenges faced by providers, payers, patients
Need for more maturity in clinical and non-clinical data capture mechanisms
To address this problem, interoperability rules were introduced in 2020. Aiming at seamless data transmission in the medical domain, they are expected to put a lid on using archaic devices. Instead of fax machines, healthcare stakeholders will primarily rely on application programming interfaces or APIs.
APIs are being deployed within business intelligence platforms to create a centralized, 360-degree view of the patient. While far from perfect, these APIs represent a framework for solving complex clinical problems. They also offer a space where business cases for future interoperability capabilities can be discussed and designed. Source
Medical vs Healthcare API - What is The Difference
Even though the terms medical API and healthcare API sound the same, there is a big difference between the two of them.
Medical API refers to the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient. This is the main substance that ensures the efficiency of a certain medicine.
As for healthcare API, it refers to the application programming interface which is a part of healthcare software that can be reused to improve the experience of users while working with other applications from healthcare or other industries. Source
Importance of APIs in Healthcare
APIs are simple technologies, however, the possibilities for data exchange and interoperability in healthcare that they provide are quite beneficial. Below are the main ones.
Connectivity. Health information is quite sensitive, but the ability to access it from different devices including Internet of Things (IoT) ones, analyze and reuse it with the help of specific applications can make self-care a daily habit, as opposed to it being checked during infrequent visits to the doctor.
Expansion. Free but safe data exchange between apps with the help of APIs may contribute to the expanded and more fruitful cooperation between all the healthcare companies including hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, health insurance companies, medical device producers, and even volunteer organizations. By freely sharing information, each of the companies may find unique ways to provide better services, work more efficiently, and contribute to the development of innovations in the healthcare sector.
Innovation. Data exchange, transfer, and analysis capabilities open up the widest possible opportunities for innovations. The use of simple APIs has solid changes in the revolution of the healthcare services sector. For example, if there is a connection between a social media profile of a mentally ill patient with the app for remote medical services provision, the unusual patterns of the patient’s behavior can send an alarm for the patient’s doctor to check on him or her.
APIs are quite useful in any industry, however, there are some special benefits when it comes to healthcare.
Boosting the development process- APIs contribute to fast, innovative development in the healthcare sector since using ready-made APIs speeds up the development process without impacting the final user experience.
Integration and personalization- By sharing your data with a third-party app, you can get deeper insights on what additional apps the patients use to monitor their health, how the users manage this data, and what concerns them in regards to their health, so you can develop better services based on this information.
Additional profits- Not all healthcare APIs should be free. Your API may be paid, and in this case, the permission to use your API by third-party developers will be a source of additional profits.
Future of Healthcare and Healthcare Providers
API development, sharing, and distribution is one more way to add value to medical data, and the patients who use specific apps to monitor their health.
Our tech-savvy team has great experience in medical solutions development and is ready to discuss your concerns regarding your API creation as well.
To learn more about our offerings, please visit https://artivatic.ai/home