An application programming interface (API) is a collection of rules that decide how software applications communicate with each other. Medical APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) play a significant role in data exchange in the healthcare industry and medical research and help in creating innovative methods to access the electronic health record (EHR).
But first, you need to get basic knowledge about APIs and how they are significant for the healthcare industry. Reading the article will help physicians and other healthcare experts (who do not have a technical background) easily understand how APIs work.
What are APIs?
APIs assist software applications to interact with each other on the internet or in an operating system. If you have cut and pasted text from one application to another on your laptop, found a restaurant through Google’s map interface, or looked for itineraries on Google Flights, you have used APIs in each case to get the desired result. APIs structured how every application interacted with each other and with other websites. APIs allow excellent connectivity that is very much expected in the digital era.
In a nutshell, an API is a way of requesting information from a system. APIs also convey the response from the system back to the user. You can think of an API as a waiter at any restaurant. You get a menu having a list of options and a kitchen where the meal is prepared to fulfill your request. But there needs to be a messenger who will convey your request and deliver the response. An API can be equated with the waiter, who takes the orders and carries them to the kitchen, and brings back what was asked for.
Why are APIs Significant for the Healthcare Industry?
Interoperability is the biggest challenge that the healthcare industry is facing in contemporary times when digital health is predominant. APIs are the most popular solution that can be used to manage the flow of data between the internal applications of the healthcare organization, data exchange tools, and EHRs.
According to healthcare officials, they never get a dataset that provides you with everything that you need in a single format. Information comes from different sources, and you need to work with systems that are capable of handling and integrating data from multiple sources.
APIs are present anywhere where there is a need for communication between data systems. For instance, researchers conducting the research might need real-time data from different sources to analyze various trends in health and may need to access the population health database. APIs make it convenient for patients to access their medical records online.
APIs are important for health IT advancement. APIs make everything more convenient, and using them saves time and increases efficiency. APIs are a means of standardized gateway for healthcare data which assists in
- Decreasing the development time of different software.
- Reduce the differences in standards or coding languages that are used for producing the data that is present at both the ends of the bridge.
- Save the storage space on devices.
People designing healthcare software need to access data and APIs make the task convenient and quicker. It also minimizes security errors and duplication.
History of APIs in Healthcare
Before the advent of Electronic Health Record systems, only phone calls and fax machines were in charge of interoperability. In the contemporary world, healthcare officials use one EHR in the office, one in the hospital, and some specialists may use a separate one for themselves. Important data related to the patient’s health is spread across different data silos, and the information gets fragmented.
As the development of value-based care reimbursement models gets extensively affixed to better health outcomes and minimized readmissions, each healthcare organization would want an analytic that provides a complete idea of the patient history. The healthcare industry, therefore, requires efficient interoperability. Healthcare interoperability companies need to develop medical APIs that cater to the industry’s need to provide care for patients throughout an extensive healthcare landscape in a greater way than it presently does.
The Rise of Medical APIs
Healthcare interoperability companies can use the FHIR API framework to allow more relevant exchanges between systems. The best healthcare APIs constitute a framework for working out complicated clinical problems. For instance, medical APIs are engaged in special software systems to produce a centralized view of the patient with the assistance of AI in healthcare.
Medical APIs should have a standardization on the API level. Apps should be capable of getting data from any other app through the best healthcare APIs following a known standard protocol. Previous formats such as HL7 are getting obsolete thereby reducing the development costs.
Future of Medical APIs
The next-generation data trading is boosting the future of healthcare APIs. FHIR is expected to be compatible, while the healthcare interoperability companies are to embrace a standardized implementation model for the requirement of the healthcare industry. Medical APIs allow patients to switch between services and transfer data conveniently, permitting doctors and patients to get better insights than before. The contemporary healthcare app providers will be able to enhance care depending on the information collected and shared through the best healthcare APIs. The healthcare industry needs to adhere to the data standards for optimizing interoperability.
DigitalAPICraft is one such professional healthcare provider company that provides medical APIs to the healthcare industry for the benefit of patients and doctors. The standardized data results are convenient to use and process and provide better insight into the requirements of doctors, patients, and payers allowing everyone to make informed decisions.