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Public APIs, the engaged patient’s new best friend

The world of healthcare infrastructure is moving very quickly, and it is all good news for engaged patients.

Health IT Task Force Recommends Public APIs

Seemingly out of the blue, it was recently announced that the US Office for the National Coordinator (ONC) Health IT Task Force recommends the development of Public APIs to enable data and document-level access to EHR-based information. An API is simply a means to allow data from one database to be shared in a known format with another database or application. Standard practice in most industries these days, but for healthcare this is a major step forward.

Two weeks later, this development was expanded as another high level Health IT Committee in Washington approved the development of these Public APIs, but went even further, calling for a new approach to interoperability that is nothing less than a paradigm shift from the current situation of patient data held in disparate data silos held across the country.

And just a month ago, when in my native New Zealand, I discovered that a major national Health IT initiative is in preparation to create the same type of Public APIs for the same purpose – to allow patient data to flow to where it is needed.

This is great news for patients and caregivers everywhere, as the effect of patient data being made available for transmitting to where it is needed via Public APIs will be to prevent vendors and providers from blocking access to your health data for competitive or proprietary reasons.

Dave de Bronkart would be pleased!

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