We live in a connected world. All industries ranging from startups to large enterprises have integrated devices in their ecosystem to enhance productivity. Apart from bringing automation in the processes, these devices will increase convenience, As per the Cisco IBSG prediction, There will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. Every industry sector has started leveraging the benefits of connected devices, and the healthcare sector is no exception!
Today, there is no wonder that smart gadgets and apps tell users when to do exercise or drink water. Both software giants Apple and Google invest heavily in integrating health and fitness applications in iOS and Android respectively. What’s more, mobile app development companies also tend to integrate the features of IoT to make customized healthcare apps. Healthcare APIs help developers integrate their healthcare apps with individual devices.
Healthcare APIs also enable mobile app developers to come up with an app integrated with the entire healthcare ecosystem along with the facility to store and access the health data in real-time. Here the question arises- Do hospitals and healthcare professionals really welcome such apps with integrated APIs? Today, many healthcare organizations use robust EHR (Electronic Health Record) systems that remain incompatible with other networks. As a result, it is difficult to exchange the vitals or health records among physicians and paramedical staff.
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Legal Restrictions for Health data and APIs
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 has added a requirement that the US healthcare providers should enable their patients to view, download, and share their health data to third parties like other hospitals, research facilities, and insurance companies.
Similarly, laws of the European Union have restricted the healthcare app development to a number of trusted APIs and platforms. Various APIs and third-party platforms have to follow strict regulations and maintain compliance-related needs while developing healthcare apps.
Let’s see the role of healthcare APIs in the medical app development. These APIs are designed to serve diverse requirements of patients, hospital staff, and researchers.
Importance of Healthcare APIs in App Development
- Patients – Healthcare APIs enable patients to share health records directly to new facilities without making phone calls or keeping mediators. Patients can also integrate their fitness trackers and other devices with the EHR system. This integration facilitates patients to share vital records and other necessary information in a swift and secure manner. In a way, they can get improved diagnosis and treatment services.
- Healthcare Facilities – As mentioned above, the EHR integrated with the healthcare apps through APIs is more useful for clinicians. Thanks to APIs, physicians can get access to the consolidated history of patients in one place. It is also possible to schedule an appointment through such APIs. For example, on-demand apps for appointment booking can be developed with the help of healthcare APIs.
- Researchers – API-based healthcare apps can fetch a lot of viable data from patients. Often, clinical trials fail to reach any conclusion due to the small number of patients. Health APIs are designed to share huge data of patients to research companies. The data can be related to patient history, specific diagnosis, and the like. It is possible to anonymize the data as well. As a result, the patient’s privacy is prevented every time.
Some of the few challenges that healthcare APIs need to overcome are security concerns, seamless access to healthcare databases, and exhaustive documentation for developers. Also, it is necessary for APIs to ensure a seamless experience across tablets and smartphones.
Top Three Healthcare APIs for Developing Medical Apps
Secure storage and sharing of key healthcare documents like lab results, medical records, prescriptions, and the patient’s history are the most basic and yet highly important feature for any healthcare app. Box API provides this feature. Patients can securely manage their confidential files in the app with the help of this API.
Box service is easy-to-use and offers API, web SDK, and Mobile SDK. Developers can use it with a wide number of languages and OS including Java, .NET, Python, Chrome, Android, and iOS. It is simple and easy-to-implement.
The Human API offers many useful features to healthcare app developers. This API consists of several healthcare-related blocks. Some of its top features include patient profile management, prescription review, etc. It can also store test results and provide selective access to the patient’s vitals. The Human API is designed to provide various health-related features. It has even organized a hackathon for developing healthcare apps.
- Clean and structured health data
- Empowers BYOD wellness programs
- Easy data sharing from EHRs, labs, etc.
Well-written documentation and comprehensive guides for iOS, Android, and web app development are other characteristics of the Human API.
Some of the healthcare apps enable their users to locate and choose healthcare professionals. In other words, patients can select doctors from a nearby location, reviews, experience, etc. BetterDoctor API can provide this functionality in the healthcare app. It helps patients or app users know more about doctors and enables them to make informed decisions.
- Access to provider data hub through API
- Real-time updates
- Accurate provider data
BetterDoctor has comprehensive API documentation, and developers can readily start using this API in either a new or existing healthcare app development project. BetterDoctor API is a ready-to-use API that does not require any additional effort to use it properly.
Drchrono and Doximity are other useful healthcare APIs. It is up to the healthcare app developers to choose the right API for developing customized apps.
It is fair to mention that healthcare APIs will play an increasingly vital role in improving healthcare services and doctor-patient relationships. Apart from providing seamless data storage and access, APIs will help mobile app development companies to address the complex challenges of the healthcare sector. Healthcare service providers, individual users, and insurance companies will remain big beneficiaries of the healthcare APIs.
Developing a healthcare API is quite a task even for experienced developers. However, in the coming days, we cannot rule out its strong demand in a thriving healthcare sector.
Featured image source: Freepik