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September 2017, Vol. 5, No. 5

Healthcare APIs boost interoperability, but health IT lags

As regulators pressure providers to improve interoperability among electronic health record systems and other sources of patient data, hospitals with legacy systems look to newer programming technology. U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) head Donald Rucker, M.D., pointed to healthcare APIs as a way for modern health IT to boost interoperability. The agency's interoperability efforts include data flowing from EHRs and reimbursement workflows to patient monitoring systems. Generally, an API is code that allows software applications to communicate with each other. Open APIs may prove particularly useful for healthcare because they're published on the internet and shared among developers. "There are lots of fascinating computer science technologies," Rucker said during a press briefing in July. "I think part of what we're trying to do with open APIs [and] with interoperability is let some of these newer technologies … [act] as an entrée into some of these data collections that are out there." Modern clashes ...

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