The Concept of Patientdirected APIs
10 May 2016
I am reading through the API task force recommendations out of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), to help address privacy and security concerns around mandated API usage as part of the Common Clinical Data Set, Medicare, and Medicaid Electronic Health Records. The recommendations contain a wealth of valuable insights around healthcare APIs but are also full of patterns that we should be applying across other sectors of our society where APIs making an impact. To help me work through the task force's recommendations, I will be blogging through many of the different concepts at play.
One phrase that is used regularly across the task force recommendations that really caught my attention was the concept of "PatientDirected APIs". It is a powerful concept, when you think about APIs existing, not just for helping integrate healthcare systems, and innovate around the development and delivery of the web and mobile applications, but doing it all because of, in service of, and at the direction of the patient. The document has grabbed my attention because this is the first time I've seen such an end-user focused API vision in the wild.
While these electronic healthcare record APIs will be used for system integration, delivering web and mobile apps, and benefiting healthcare platform operators, and developers, the reason for the APIs will be existing is to benefit the patient. This just isn't how things are done in Silicon Valley, where you always focus on benefits for the platform, its partners and investors first, maybe the developers secondarily, but in most cases the end-user is just an afterthought. In startup culture, things are just turned on its head, allowing for some serious imbalance in how we do things with APIs.
There are a wealth of topics for me to work through from the task force recommendations out of ONC and HHS. I will keep blogging, as I read through, and work through the important recommendations it contains. Once I have my head wrapped around the document more, and up to speed with what they are doing, I'm hoping I can contribute some more ideas that might help stimulate things as healthcare providers roll out their APIs.