Choosing The Right API For Your Digital Healthcare Startup

Choosing the right API for your digital health startup can be tricky. Our checklist reviews key considerations to help you choose an API.

We have entered a build-vs-buy economy in tech innovation, as “API” becomes the tech buzzword of the decade. APIs have been at the heart of innovation in many industries, from fintech to consumer tech, and fortunately, now becoming mainstream in digital healthcare, as advantages of leveraging APIs are well-documented. As you consider telehealth APIs available for digital healthcare startups, this checklist will help you review key considerations. 

6 things to look for in an API for Digital Healthcare

Given the plethora of options available, it’s more important than ever to take the time to select the correct suite of APIs for your business. Developer resources are precious, and there are many considerations, particularly in Healthcare, so as to not waste team time, have to rebuild from scratch, and prevent security issues. It’s vital that you choose a strong, HIPAA and SOC-2 compliant API that offers features and tools which align with your team’s product vision and roadmap.

1. Feature suite

Unsurprisingly, at the top of our list is feature suite, as it’s important to ensure that telehealth APIs you select have core functionality that your startup is looking for. Whether it’s calendaring, chat, charting and intake forms, or client engagement, features need to be high quality, robust, and include the detailed requirements that your team will need at scale to operate. For instance, when looking into a Calendar API, understand how the tool considers timezone management for both providers and clients, and how that feeds into reporting & analytics. 

2. Update cycle

It’s critical to understand how often, and to what degree, updates are made to the digital healthcare API documentation and the platform itself. Every organization has different processes, tech stack, and mechanisms to update API functionality and documentation. This is crucial to ensure that you are building on top of a strong, scalable foundation. Healthie makes available the same API that our team uses internally to build out the provider and client platform. Healthie’s comprehensive telehealth API includes EHR, a coaching and client interface, and back office capabilities. 

Healthie uses GraphQL documentation, which is a highly efficient and flexible API query language. GraphQL means that when Healthie’s web and mobile platform (and therefore API) is updated every week, the API is auto-updated simultaneously.

3. Integrations suite

In parallel with our API economy in this day and age is the interconnectivity of business and clinical tools that digital healthcare companies use for back-end operations and ongoing client management. Whether it be marketing CRM, wearables and RPM devices, or vertical-specific clinical needs, every startup will use its own suite of tools. 

Taking a look at an API’s suite of existing integrations, as well as their roadmap for forthcoming integrations, can give a valuable indication of the API’s product direction and roadmap, as well as how it’s currently being used by customers (and the types of customers benefiting from the technology). Moreover, these integrations may also provide guidance as to the software that may be a fit for your startup, as you continue to build up your tech and product stack. Healthie integrates with a growing list of over two dozen business and clinical tools used by digital healthcare startups. 

4. Robust Documentation and easy to navigate staging environment

A health data API is only as powerful as its documentation - Documentation is critical for implementation, utilization, and ongoing success of your API. Documentation should be comprehensive, and easy for developers to navigate and ingest. Ideally, documentation includes sample code, ready-to-use widgets, and a glossary / overview that will help your team get up to speed with relevant parts. Access to a staging environment (sandbox) that includes widgets and sample code is also critical, as this offers developers a chance to test and experiment with features prior to implementation on production.

5. Community and support

APIs, like all software products, are living organisms that require ongoing updates and enhancements as part of long-term utilization and success. It’s important that your digital healthcare API partner, particularly ones that serve as the backbone of your tech stack, offer rapid, helpful, and quality support. API developer support can take shape in many forms, whether that be a monitored forum, regular partner calls, or regularly updated documentation. Healthie takes this a step further to set up a shared slack channel, which enables developers on your team to quickly collaborate and ask our developers about configurations & best practices. 

6. Security and HIPAA compliance

HIPAA and SOC-2 certifications are essential for digital healthcare startups, particularly in this day and age of data security. We recommend selecting API partners that adhere to these industry standards. As part of our security and privacy protocols, Healthie leverages Vanta and Aptible, and undergoes annual third party penetration tests. 

We also recommend signing a Business Associate’s Agreement (BAA) with your API partners. This document outlines privacy and security safeguards for how sensitive client information is handled, and how it’s shared. 

Benefits of Healthie’s API

Healthie offers a comprehensive telehealth API that’s been designed for developers by developers, and with digital healthcare companies in mind. Healthie’s API comes with: 

  • Access to the same robust API documentation that our developers used to build Healthie’s platform.
  • Integrations with your favorite business tools, including Stripe, Zoom, Google, and more.
  • Ample developer support, including a Slack channel for rapid brainstorming and prototyping.
  • Automatic upgrades alongside platform upgrades. 
  • HIPAA and SOC-2 compliance.
  • The opportunity to build your custom healthcare platform on top of Healthie’s EHR, client engagement, and back office feature suite.

Questions? Contact us to see if Healthie’s API is a good fit for your digital health startup. 

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