The healthcare industry has long relied upon manual and paper-based data-sharing methods for providers and patients.
•Published: Jan 20, 2023
The global telehealth market is expected to grow to $101.2B in 2023 and compound at an annual growth rate of 24% til 2030. The introduction of HIPAA-regulated digitized protected health information (PHI) data and patient resources profoundly impacted the industry. This boon created an opportunity for companies to develop patient and provider-facing telemedicine apps that streamline the patient journey and provider care plans.
If you're creating an app to support either of those use cases, leveraging a healthcare API can speed up and take care of the complexities involved in developing your project. The 14 healthcare APIs listed in this article will help you and your engineering team develop key areas of your app that promote interoperability in healthcare settings.
APIs for Patient-Facing Apps
Educated patients have the power to improve and expedite their medical treatment experience. Whether this education supports symptom awareness, disease management comprehension, or the ability to schedule virtual appointments independently, the quicker and more effectively they can communicate with their provider.
Let's explore the four primary types of patient-facing telehealth apps and the two best healthcare APIs for each of them.
Consolidated Patient Data
If you are building a health and wellness app or disease and medication management platform that gives patients a holistic overview of their health, records, and daily activity, you will need to integrate a consolidated patient data API to combine data from electronic health records (EHR), labs, wearables, and more.
Here are the top two API choices for consolidated patient data:
Apple's Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR)-based Health Records API connects with over 500 health systems to encrypt, retrieve, and aggregate EHR data into a single view on iOS devices patients can access through iPhone passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID, including:
- Clinical vitals
- Pre-existing conditions
- Lab results
- Past and upcoming procedures
Consider integrating this API to provide users with easy access to medication tracking tools, drug data, meal planners, treatment notes, prescription lists, and to set reminders.
This HIPAA-compliant healthcare data API uses patient demographics to query the network of millions of patient records. Once the patient is found, they can retrieve their consultation notes, lab orders, and Continuity of Care Documents (CCDs).
Integrating Particle Health with your patient-facing app will significantly impact their insurance experience by organizing and storing claims, proof of statements, and risk adjustments. Rest assured that Particle Health's APIs are SOC 2 certified and HIPAA & OAuth 2.0-compliant.
These apps require integrating a HIPAA-compliant chat API and video service to enable providers to meet with patients anywhere and safely. While telemedicine apps are primarily associated with virtual doctor visits, their benefits extend to additional remote care services and related activities, including visit scheduling, lab test ordering, e-prescribing, billing, and patient engagement.
Here are the top two API choices for telehealth:
This API is perfect for hospital networks or private practices to integrate virtual appointments, remote scheduling, and real-time activity tracking into their offerings.
The Bluestream solution meets HIPAA privacy, security, and breach notification rule standards which enables it to provide feature-rich, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing over WebRTC streaming protocol that includes:
- One-click join
- Screen sharing
- Image capture
- Live chat
- SIP integration
DrChrono offers a suite of APIs for telehealth apps, including its virtual visit API. Patients can use this functionality to schedule and conduct virtual visits directly from their EHR, which means providers can access patient notes in real time without disrupting the appointment.
The video solution is HIPAA-compliant, intuitive, and can be accessed through a link without required downloads. Appointments can be recorded and securely stored with DrChrono, and patients can access them through their smartphone, iPad, or desktop device. Video visits enable administrators to create online appointments and send automated emails to patients without any additional software, downloads, or integrations needed.
Apps featuring symptom checker functionality can improve appointment satisfaction by enabling patients to articulate better and identify their symptoms. This API type is typically paired with triage tools, chatbots, and clinical decision support software to help users discover possible causes of conditions.
Here are the top two API choices for symptom checkers:
5. Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic has turned its popular symptom checker resource into a patient-facing triage API. It supports JSON and XML formats and uses AI algorithms based on structured, standardized protocols to connect data from the knowledge base with real-time patient inputs.
The healthcare screening API can identify over 300 common symptoms and returns actionable guidance to save unnecessary care costs. The symptom and treatment content is reviewed and updated regularly, the care recommendations are personalized and actionable, and the recovery outcomes are designed to be measurable.
Clinicians worldwide use the Isabel Symptom Checker (SC) to help manage diagnosis uncertainty by matching symptoms to a catalog of 6,000+ diseases with 96% accuracy. This patient-facing API is quick and easy to use, generating results written in everyday language in seconds after symptoms are entered. It can be easily integrated as a virtual triage solution and encourages patients to engage with your app or patient portal.
Patient-facing apps that contain drug data and checking functionality must distill a vast amount of information in an easy-to-navigate format. A common use of APIs in healthcare, drug data apps empower patients with trustworthy information on medication, side effects, contraindications, and more, to reduce the number of prescription errors and improve treatment efficiency.
Here are the top two API choices for drug data:
Integrating a drug data management API help patients connect over telemedicine apps with their pharmacy and understand the disease, allergy, interaction, and side effect information of their prescribed medication. The healthcare API platform creates a link between pharmacies and customers, providing a suite of e-prescribing services. It supports daily order volumes of up to 100,000 prescriptions following strict accreditation standards set by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC).
The drug interaction checker from TruePill is accessible via the Patient Safety API and proprietary Drug Utilization Review (DUR) feature. It checks drugs against predefined criteria before the medication is dispensed, during the course of treatment, and after the patient has taken the drug, allowing clinicians and pharmacists to identify and resolve problems before they occur and be alerted to incorrect dosage, clinic misuse, and duplicate therapy.
Pepid's suite of drug checker APIs can be easily integrated within your telehealth app and point-of-care information systems. Pepid leverages the following features to create a holistic overview of a patient's health and medication.
- Pill identification
- IV compatibility
- Dosing calculator
- Allergy checker
- Lab manual
- Interactions checker
- Medical videos
The API content is reviewed by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacies (ASHP) every three months to ensure accuracy.
APIs for Provider-Facing Apps
Healthcare providers and administrators rely on telemedicine applications to streamline electronic health record (EHR) management and storage. Provider-facing API functionality must reduce prescription errors, be HIPAA-compliant, and be capable of managing clinical, financial, and specialized resources to be effective.
Let's explore the three primary types of provider-facing telemedicine apps and the two best healthcare APIs for each of them.
Clinical Data Management
Provider-facing apps that specialize in clinical data management store and synthesize patient records in a regulated and organized way that doctors, nurses, and administrators can easily reference, share with other offices, add notes and send to insurance companies while redacting sensitive PHI data.
Here are the top two API choices for clinical data management:
Google's Cloud Healthcare Data Engine offers a Healthcare API that supports easy and standardized data exchange between healthcare applications and solutions built on Google Cloud. It's HIPAA compliant and meets major healthcare data regulatory standards, like HL7® FHIR®, HL7® v2, and DICOM® as well as security standards, like Google Cloud's ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 27017, and ISO/IEC 27018 certifications.
This API is best suited for telehealth apps that contain health analytics software, solutions for population health, precision medicine, and clinical research, and extended functionality for existing EHR systems.This API is useful to integrate into provider-facing apps so doctors and administrators can:
- Ingest data from multiple sources
- Remove protected health information (PHI) from records
- Combine data
- Apply machine learning to large datasets
- Manage patient documents
This API connects to a natural language processing (NLP) engine that scans clinical documents for key information to distill in a digestible format, like an EHR, physician note, radiology, or trial reports. These formats can then be automatically updated when linked medical coding, appointments, or prescriptions occur, reducing the administrative hours and manual work required. Integrate this component with your healthcare app to streamline care, process, and paperwork while protecting patient PHI according to HIPAA standards.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
Apps that feature an EHR functionality can streamline the provider and administrative healthcare experience greatly, reducing inefficiencies and errors while increasing patient satisfaction. By integrating an EHR API, healthcare workers can extract data elements from patient health records to simplify the summation of their health history for providers and easily track treatment plans over time.
Here are the top two API choices for EHR:
11. Allscripts FHIR
This EHR API connects to both patient and provider-centric apps. If your app's audience includes ambulatories and inpatient hospitals, consider integrating Allscripts for a smoother and safer way to view, manage, store, and share electronic health records with patients, insurance companies, and other providers.
Meditech's data APIs streamline the acute care and home health EHR application process for providers. If your app caters to mobile urgent care, senior care, or in-home health services, consider integrating this API with your platform to create a secure, holistic, and centralized look at patient health history for your administrative care team.
Integrate a public health API into your provider-facing app to equip them with verified information, medical study results, breaking health news, trends, and current statistics from governmental health organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and more.
Here are the top two API choices for public health:
13. WHO Data
Integrate the Athena API so your providers can query the Global Health Observatory (GHO) database---the centralized source of global health information---directly in your healthcare app. This information is organized by country and features statistics for more than 1,000 areas of health, wellness, and medicine, including:
- Reproductive Health
The WHO's Athena API is best suited for health analytics solutions, provider-facing web portals at hospitals and private offices, research centers, and medical departments at higher education institutions.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers a content syndication API that distills health and wellness information from its publishing partner, like the FDA, CDC, and NCI, into an organized format in multiple languages, including:
- Health news and trends
- Disease prevention
- Medical survey and study results
- Medical procedure details
- General health education materials
The API returns JSON and XML files and enables displaying the content on websites, social media pages, widgets, in EHR systems, and mobile apps. Developers can extend the capabilities of this primarily provider-facing API to build a variety of patient-facing functionalities like content keyword searches, filters, and result generation.
Visit a Healthcare API Marketplace to Get Started
The 14 healthcare API vendors above were listed based on their specific use cases and functionalities. However, if your app's needs are unique, we suggest visiting a healthcare API marketplace, like NextGen Healthcare or Change Healthcare Marketplace. There you can browse a variety of third-party vendor solutions, including other helpful app-building components like chat APIs, video integrations, payment processors, and explore the untapped potential of healthcare APIs, and select the one best suited to your project.