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APIs for a Healthcare App Economy: Paths to Market Success

by Brian Murphy | December 13, 2016

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A critical element of business success across industries has been the surge in use of open application programming interfaces (API) that provide data for applications that did not create or originate the data. APIs are the technical foundation of engaging interfaces and high-value interactions between different applications. Application ecosystems such as Google Play and the Apple App Store would not exist without open APIs that enable data access across multiple sources and organizations. Open APIs in healthcare promise a HIPAA-compliant way to enhance a digital portfolio with an ecosystem of third party applications and services.

To understand what it will take to build an API program in healthcare and deliver on this promise, we conducted a broad survey of the healthcare market to solicit ideas and opinions about the opportunities and challenges represented by APIs. These interviews indicate significant enthusiasm for wider availability of APIs to make it easier to develop more accessible systems of record and more responsive and innovative systems of engagement.

You can watch the webinar we conducted to lead into the release below and download the slides here.

The API Opportunity in Healthcare

Big Potential – HCO C-suites, IT organizations, and clinical leadership need no convincing about the potential that APIs offer. Most expect API programs to deliver functional enhancements, improvements to user interfaces, and broader dissemination of digital assets across their connected communities.

HCOs Are Building New Care Models – HCOs are actively exploring process changes that can drive better care coordination, higher quality, and healthier patients. Many see APIs as a way to extend and improve applications to support the change needed to implement successful new care models.

Only Large HCOs Can Invest – The largest HCOs are currently expending time and resources on APIs. Other HCOs are waiting for their HIT vendors to show the way.

Smaller HCOs Will Follow – Small HCOs, dealing with the “tyranny of the moment,” will wait for tangible results from leaders who demonstrate the utility and efficacy of an API-based infrastructure.

HCOs Want to Spread Expertise – API-based development, together with advanced analytics, can increase the effectiveness of existing applications by enhancing the expertise of individual clinicians.

This report was sponsored by leading, innovative health IT companies who share Chilmark Research’s vision to educate the industry on transformational technologies that will improve the care delivery process and ultimately the patient experience. We extend a sincere thank you to Cerner, InterSystems, Orion Health and PokitDok for their support.


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