Healthcare APIs: Solving EHR Interoperability Challenges

Daniel Pluard

Intely CEO

December 7, 2021
intely Blog Illustrations Healthcare APIs Solving EHR Interoperability Challenges

It’s no secret that the U.S. healthcare system is antiquated. Access to healthcare is difficult and administrative processes are time-consuming and expensive.  The reason for this inefficiency, though, is also no secret – massive fragmentation. Healthcare APIs can help in solving these challenges. 

Providers, payers, and healthcare organizations each have their own processes and data. They are loosely connected, which creates a logistical nightmare for healthcare stakeholders. Digital health vendors are suffering because they do not have a foundation where they can build new technologies in. Building on top of a fragmented system is like building a house on sand; there is no foundation. 

Continue reading to learn about the use of healthcare APIs and how they promote interoperability. 

 But before anything else… 

What is a healthcare API (Application Programming Interface)? 

Basically, an API connects applications, software, and data sources to create interoperability. In healthcare, APIs unify applications and databases that allow data sharing through one single point.  

APIs are most useful when building software that requires one or more systems to communicate.  

Healthcare organizations can now make good use of the data in their systems by utilizing APIs. Healthcare APIs have state-of-the-art user interfaces that can access healthcare information in real-time. With these kinds of platforms, better patient experiences are created.  

 Pretty neat, isn’t it? 

Healthcare APIs for Healthcare Interoperability 

You might be wondering; how can healthcare APIs help organizations achieve interoperability?  

Interoperability has historically been complex and tedious.  

Visualize this scenario: 

Healthcare provider A uses a number of proprietary software connected only to themselves. Since the software is proprietary, affiliate doctors of healthcare provider A need to input data manually on the system. This data will only be available inside the system of healthcare provider A.  

With a system like the one mentioned above, transferring records from one provider to another is going to be a nightmare. Since they can’t exchange secure records with each other, collaborating is next to impossible. 

Then, APIs entered the scene…  

According to Oracle, APIs play a huge role in the advancement of healthcare interoperability for the years to come. Since APIs aid in the efficiency of product development, the US government implemented the 21st Century Cures Act. This law encourages the standardization of APIs.  

Using APIs, organizations can exchange, interpret, and present data in a coordinated and structured way.  APIs streamlined healthcare processes by using a common language. It helped ease the data exchange between systems. 

It gets better:  

APIs create a centralized, 360-degree view of the patient. This allows medical professionals to accurately diagnose and treat their patients. Not only that, they are flexible enough to accommodate improvements and updates.  This results in the improvement of healthcare services for all.

There’s more!  

APIs help develops new digital health technologies. They allow patients to access the data they need. APIs also reduce the expenses of healthcare providers and digital health products vendors. 

Challenges of Healthcare APIs 

APIs are powerful tools to solve interoperability problems. However, it comes with some challenges.  

Healthcare APIs serve to solve the problem of data exchange between medical institutions. Experts reviewed outdated technologies and found missing components. This discovery presented opportunities for improvement. 

Recently, we have moved to a new healthcare API standard (HL7 FHIR R4.0.1). However, it still has gaps and issues. As a result, vendor-specific custom APIs supplement the gaps.  

We can clearly see that APIs still have a long way to go.  

Healthcare organizations also encountered challenges in testing.  

Testing data integrity of healthcare data can be challenging. Data is collected from disparate locations. This makes it difficult to corroborate the consistency of data.  As a result, healthcare systems need more rigorous API testing procedures. Rigorous testing will mitigate errors in results.   

Achieve Healthcare Interoperability with intely! 

Healthcare APIs enable all parties to coordinate with each other efficiently. As a result, the demand for APIs will rise. Consequently, there will definitely be a high demand for interoperability support. 

We want to help you achieve interoperability. Our platform offers the most innovative solutions that will help you streamline the data integration processes inside your organization. 

Schedule a demo today and see intely in action! 

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