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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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Features in this issue
APIs are new to some in healthcare, but other industries use them regularly. Interoperability will benefit if healthcare can get beyond its legacy systems.
EHR interoperability might swing in favor of cloud installations rather than on-premises approaches. Also, legacy systems may be left in the dust of patient data exchange.
Columns in this issue
APIs are useful in improving EHR interoperability. From that perspective, electronic medical records that are certified by the ONC must adhere to API criteria.
As the amount of patient data in hospitals continues to grow, healthcare big data analytics can help improve patient safety by providing valuable insights in near-real time.