Unfortunately, our existing healthcare ecosystem has evolved into a collection of data silos that have, over the years, multiplied and solidified because of legacy healthcare systems that have stacked on top of one another for decades. These silos of data were constructed around intentional business decisions to hold data in perpetuity as part of creating industry moats and making it harder for new entrants - both EHR platforms and practices.
As healthcare undergoes unprecedented innovation coming out of COVID-19, and digitization continues to disrupt many traditional care coordination processes, many providers are taking notice of these challenges to EHR systems. Additionally, organizations are increasingly mandating from their technology platforms a solution for interoperability that would aggregate patient data that currently sits across electronic health records (EHRs) from disparate legacy systems. This will invariably fix many of the problems with electronic health records and subsequently drive a result of providers having an accurate and holistic picture of a patient’s health history, and this philosophy and capabilities are increasingly becoming critical to organizations bound on creating modern healthcare experiences. Accordingly, modern EHR companies are building API-first, responsive infrastructure platforms that can scale and accommodate this new world of healthcare delivery
Leveraging a new generation of API infrastructure to avoid healthcare data silos of the past
At their simplest, APIs allow disparate platforms to talk to each other, and depending on how these platforms have been built, the software becomes increasingly more powerful, fixing some of the main EHR problems For example, via an API for healthcare data, it is possible for data to flow automatically from one platform to another, and update a patient’s health record - companies like Zus, Health Gorilla, and Particle Health are companies making this as easy as possible for modern virtual-care solutions. Additionally, a healthcare clinic can find out if a patient is covered for a specific procedure by pulling information from insurance portals, and we’re seeing the rise of companies like Flexpa and 1UpHealth who are solely focused on making this a reality. It’s incredible to see the level of innovation happening, as these capabilities would have been considered unthinkable even just a few years ago.
Existing EHR platforms drive inefficiency, and clinician frustration
Healthcare providers spend more than 25% of their time on administrative tasks - time that could be devoted to patient care.. Much of this time is spent on manual and repetitive tasks, including duplicating data entry, driving frustration and reducing time spent with patients. Moreover, manual data entry, and re-entering data, creates room for errors. It’s near impossible to ensure 100% data accuracy in our current system, and moreover , if data lives in multiple systems, it’s not possible to collect and merge these dispersed pieces of data. Cross-checking information coming from several sources commonly reveals conflicting facts if the data is not integrated or in sync.
These disadvantages of EHR are burdensome and data silos prevent healthcare workers from coordinating patient care, devalue patient data, and create room for significant (and potentially expensive) errors.
API-first platforms offer a viable, scalable solution to existing data fractures
There is an emerging stack of API-first health tech companies that collectively will dismantle data silos of the past, and in total reduce our industry’s collective time spent on administrative tasks, with the larger goal of improving patient care and outcomes. These industry disruptors, the new EMRs, interoperability solutions, and data aggregators / DaaS companies, will make it easier than ever for healthcare providers to access the data needed for comprehensive patient care. This interconnected way of thinking about health tech, with this larger eye towards data interoperability, will usher in a new way of partnerships across platforms that have traditionally operated in competition with each other. Overall, this will help the industry transition into cost-effective value-based care delivery. The industry has been speaking about value-based health care for over a decade, but we are beginning to see the fruits of these efforts, as organizations are increasingly expecting easy ways to share clinical records and have patient data move across systems. These themes will play out across the health tech upstarts as well as the incumbents. This new philosophy of API-first, interconnected platforms will provide organizations with a more timely entry point into the clinical process, a significant benefit that tackles EHR problems, lowers the barriers to patient care and leads to better outcomes.
For example, with an interconnected EHR platform, a physician can write a prescription into the EHR, and other platforms and applications with access to patient data collections elsewhere can be notified of the event and react accordingly. This robust form of clinical support, one that automatically pushes a more comprehensive view of a patient’s health history, ensures that all available variables have been considered and that the patient receives the most appropriate treatment, across multiple stakeholders. This API strategy for healthcare will be applied across a variety of use cases, including:
- Remote patient monitoring
- Continuous glucose monitoring
- Behavioral and Mental Health
- Coaching and lifestyle habits
Where technology meets the Healthcare industry
Healthcare inherently operates differently from other industries that have undergone periods of rapid innovation - namely fintech and consumer tech - this will impact the way that innovation in the field is rolled out, and for good reasons. HIPAA compliance, and ensuring that patient data is held privately and securely, should remain at the forefront of business minds.
Healthcare is a $12 Trillion dollar industry - one with many stakeholders who work collectively, and sometimes at odds with each other, to allow the system to function - as a result, piercing through incumbent processes to push forth innovation will take time, and require the buy-in of many.
Fortunately, we are seeing an influx of new entrants into this market that overall will push the envelope forwards with regards to ensuring that interoperability , coordination, and API-first principles increasingly take center stage, with an eye towards reducing costs and improving patient outcomes. The mandates of frameworks like HL7 FHIR will make it increasingly easier for data flow across systems, and opens up a new way of thinking about healthcare infrastructure and systems. As these rules and guidelines evolve - as real world practices evolve - the key takeaway remains that the use of a standard API infrastructure for healthcare data is paramount to achieving interoperability success across the industry as a whole.
Innovate with Healthie’s API-first EHR platform
Healthie API-first platform makes it easy for next generation healthcare delivery organizations to build modern healthcare experiences, combat problems with electronic health records, and leverage partnerships with interoperability players to make patient data accessible. Organizations can build long-term relationships with their clients, track client care and outcomes, and reduce time spent on back-office administration.
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