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What a Real Open EHR API Should Accomplish

Posted on June 17, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

There’s been a lot of talk in the EHR world about APIs and most of the time they talk about it as an open API. The problem is that there’s been a lot of talk about EHR APIs and not a lot of action. Having an open API is more than just giving a couple people access to some really small subset of your EHR. We need truly open EHR APIs that are more than just a nice press release.

A successful EHR API requires two core elements: Access to EHR Data and a User Base.

The first element is the obvious one and the one that everyone focuses on. An API needs to have access to the data in the EHR. This includes accessing that data for display in an outside application. Plus, it requires that an EHR accept data from an outside application. EHR APIs seem to fall short on both of these areas. Most only give you access to some really small portion of the EHR data. Even fewer let you write any sort of data to the EHR.

If you don’t give an outside application the ability to access the EHR data and write data to the EHR, there are very few applications you can build on top of it. Is it any wonder that the third party EHR developer community isn’t doing more things with EHR software? If they had these two things, EHR vendors would be amazed at what they’d build. I love Jonathan Bush’s idea of “every surface area” of athenahealth being available in an API. If he achieves this vision, third party developers will flock to that EHR and enhance it in ways that would have never been possible for athenahealth to do on their own.

The second piece is just as important to an API. EHR API developers need to get access to your existing EHR user base. This doesn’t mean you have to give them a list of all your clients. It does mean you need to feature the work of these third party developers to your existing user base. This can be in your application, in an email list, at your user conference, etc.

Think about the message you’re sending to your developer community and your existing user base when you do this. The developer community wants to build even more functionality into your product. Your EHR users get more value out of your EHR application thanks to the development efforts of an outside party. Plus, ambitious EHR users can even create their own functionality using the EHR API.

I can’t wait for the day that EHR vendors fully embrace the idea of a third party EHR API. There are so many outside companies that would benefit from an EHR API, but the EHR vendor will benefit just as much. Plus, the real winners will be the EHR users and patients who get the functionality they’ve been wanting from their EHR that the EHR vendor couldn’t deliver.

S Health Gives Comprehensive View of Health

Posted on I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

So I just traded in my Nexus S for a Galaxy S2. I know, I know — the Galaxy S4 just came out, so I’m a little bit behind the game. Still, it’s a good upgrade, and I’m loving having it. However, when someone mentioned on Facebook how much they loved S Health, a feature on the new Galaxy S4, I had to check it out. And, of course, it made me a little bit jealous that my older Galaxy didn’t appear to have it.

So what is S Health? Well, it was launched last year, and the newest version was released with the S4, optimized to work with some of the senors that are integrated into the S4. While the S Health has many similar features to other devices on the market, such as FitBit — including a built-in pedometer and diet tracking — it also has some features that are rather unique.

The feature that stood out most to me was the Comfort Level. It tells you what your comfort level is, by pulling in the ambient temperature and humidity of the room you are in. While I am not totally sure what the point of knowing this would be, it’s cool that it can do that. You can track all your progress in a variety of different charts, and sync it with third-party blood pressure and glucose monitors. All of these things combined seem like they would give you a pretty comprehensive look at your health profile.

Overall, I wouldn’t buy the Galaxy S4 just for this feature, but it is a nice added bonus. If you already have a smart phone that works well for you, I’d go with a less expensive option for a wearable a device, rather than shelling out the cash for this. It also sounds like they have some more things in the work for S Health, so be on the lookout for that in the future!

Of all the wearable devices out there, do you have a favorite?