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September 2017, Vol. 5, No. 5

APIs and the cloud help cure health IT interoperability ills

In the natural course of human events, it's safe to say most people have endured an untold number of doctor's appointments, emergency room visits and hospital stays. Each time, patient information is recorded, stored and updated in electronic health records, or EHRs. But due to the lack of health IT interoperability, this accumulated wealth of health data that's vital to patient care may not be fully accessible because EHRs can't always communicate with each other and other platforms that doctors and nurses access regularly.

The interoperability app gap, however, is being addressed more aggressively by the healthcare industry, partly because of pressure from government regulators and health IT interoperability standards. Our cover story examines application technologies in the form of APIs that are commonly used in many industries, but not nearly as much in healthcare -- until now. Even though hospitals depend heavily on legacy systems for much of their information exchange, APIs can significantly improve EHR interoperability. In another feature, we look at those on-premises healthcare systems and explain how EHR interoperability might benefit more from cloud-based systems.

Also in this issue, discover how hospital administrators are turning to big data analytics to transform vast amounts of collected patient information into actionable insights that can help improve patient care, safety and operations.

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