Healthcare has lagged behind other industries in terms of technological advancement. But that is about to change.
Many factors are driving change and the need for healthcare organizations to share information: consumers are demanding access to their own health information; burgeoning health costs are driving incentives to integrate care across different healthcare organizations, and technological advancements in web and mobile applications are opening up opportunities.
To date, healthcare organizations have struggled with interoperability; health information often ends up in silos – trapped in the EMR of a primary care physician, GP, or hospital. This means that patients have been treated episodically, receiving advice and prescriptions from medical professionals who may not have access to that patient’s complete medical record. How can individuals receive perfect healthcare if the professionals treating them only see part of the picture? Without clinical data outlining medical history, claims data to marry up medical interventions with insurance claims made, medication adherence information, genetic profile, family history, and data about social circumstance (whether they are employed or otherwise; have family support or not), it’s virtually impossible for a medical professional to be certain that they are choosing the right prevention or treatment plan for that individual. Moreover, the traditional complexity and expense of healthcare integrations have limited the number and types of applications available to healthcare providers and patients. Given these constraints, it’s virtually impossible to deliver perfect care.
Open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) have been embraced by many industries as the way to provide easy access to data and capabilities. APIs can make perfect care possible by enabling the best solutions to be built for every healthcare scenario. They open the way for collaboration between healthcare organizations and players from outside of healthcare to develop innovative applications to serve any and every healthcare niche. It is through APIs that we can unlock the massive potential of aggregated and shared healthcare data and better health and wellness across communities. It is through APIs that we can capitalize on sharing new technology, such as artificial intelligence, data visualization, proximity technologies, optical character recognition technology…the list goes on. APIs open an entire new world for healthcare and its technological advancement.