Here's How Healthcare API Emerged as a Boon During the Pandemic

May 31, 2022
4 min read

Introduction

In recent years, healthcare leaders have been tackling a number of challenges like increased patient awareness of digitalization, the need to share critical healthcare information seamlessly, and catering to digital patients. COVID-19 has further aggravated these challenges by disrupting many industries, including healthcare – necessitating the need to embrace technologies that would help navigate the challenges brought by the global pandemic.

Data sharing becomes all the more important when COVID-19, being a highly contagious virus, spreads rapidly, and governments had to impose strict guidelines to curb the rising number of patients. The healthcare industry is gradually ushering into an era where critical data can be shared between apps, hospitals, devices, software, providers, payers, and wearables – that too in a frictionless manner. To bring about seamless data transfer, the healthcare industry adopted healthcare application programming interfaces (APIs) where each healthcare entity can access critical data spread across platforms, devices, applications, and software in real-time.

More accurately, healthcare APIs have been a game-changer for the industry, particularly during the outbreak of COVID-19. It helps doctors and patients to access the important data while sitting miles away – assisting local governments in their mission to reduce the cases of COVID-19. By empowering patients to access their healthcare data, APIs allow patients to better understand and analyze the data and then make informed decisions about their health.

This blog will walk you through three major aspects of healthcare that are being revolutionized by healthcare APIs.

Key Areas That Healthcare API is Transforming

Electronic Health Record Access (EHR)

Using APIs, healthcare leadership can forge enhanced and streamlined care delivery systems. Additionally, providers can effortlessly access and utilize data and applications in EHRs – an area where traditional EHR systems lag behind. For instance, a cardiologist might leverage an API-enabled app, particularly created for heart care to carry out visualizations and analyses throughout regular check-ups and offer feedback to the patient in real-time. The havoc of COVID-19 motivated patients to embrace EHRs – which ensures they receive key health statistics in a contactless manner and without visiting any healthcare facility.

The more evolved APIs are expected to simplify sharing data among healthcare shareholders, enabling healthcare professionals to see current medication, monitor patients' conditions, and check the outcomes of lab tests. Without healthcare APIs in place, patients have to manually visit every department, facility, and lab to migrate data from one place to another – placing an unnecessary burden on patients.

During the global pandemic, the demand and use of EHRs increased dramatically as more and more apps are connecting with EHRs – creating a connected ecosystem for patients and physicians wherein seeing a comprehensive view of healthcare data becomes possible. APIs ensure accessibility to EHRs in a seamless and secure environment, empowering patients to make better health choices.

Therefore, the integration of API in EHRs will unlock new opportunities for innovation and better align patients with physicians.

Wearable Medical Device

With patients becoming digital-savvy in-and-post-pandemic era, the adoption of wearable devices like smartwatches, wristbands, wearable mobile sensors, and other mobile hub medical devices is on the rise. The functionalities of these wearable devices to obtain different data like blood sugar, exercise routines, moods, heart rates, etc., make them highly beneficial for today's healthcare landscape.

These wearables share the data with other devices through APIs, allowing medical professionals to analyze and decide the further course of treatment rapidly. A recent survey by Accenture reveals that many US adults are optimistic about wearable devices that monitor their health constantly. A growing number of healthcare institutions are leveraging wearables, especially during the global pandemic, by tracking critical health statistics like blood pressure, heart rate, and others – providing patient-centric care and improved patient experience.

In the last few years, these wearables have successfully empowered patients and providers to better alleviate chronic conditions like heart diseases, diabetes, and chronic pain. Thus, APIs play a crucial role in eradicating the need to collect data from varied wearable devices – integrating healthcare data scattered across departments, devices, and even facilities.

Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring has gained significant traction – largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where guidelines forced people to lock themselves inside their homes. Remote patient monitoring includes data sharing between patients and physicians, appointment scheduling, telemedicine, etc. As healthcare APIs are synonymous with remote, they prove to be effective in these areas – particularly during the pandemic.

Many virtual systems and applications leverage APIs to gather information from glucose monitors and seamlessly transmit it to patients' EHR, which would empower physicians to track glucose monitoring in real-time without having to worry about the patient's location. Healthcare APIs provide an improved experience for every entity by effectively dealing with bottlenecks in remote monitoring. Healthcare APIs became an essential component of healthcare delivery during the pandemic – allowing patients to deal with their health remotely and other COVID-19 restrictions.

In the coming years, it will be vital to adopt a variety of healthcare APIs that not only support remote care functionalities but also bring down the burden on each entity involved – driving up productivity and revenues. Healthcare APIs are deriving innovation in the healthcare industry by streamlining the coordination and communication between different shareholders in a secure manner.

Summing Up

Saying healthcare APIs emerged as a boon during the global pandemic would not be wrong – given the vast functionalities of APIs that not only supported patients' needs but also complemented the guidelines of COVID-19. Realizing a comprehensive healthcare ecosystem that involves superior healthcare delivery, a patient-centric approach, and care for each entity involved, would mean adopting healthcare API across the healthcare ecosystem.

Plus, healthcare APIs hold the potential to transform the complete landscape by empowering patients and physicians to access data in real-time while enabling other shareholders to better coordinate with others with seamless communication. As healthcare institutions directly manage sensitive health data of patients, the need to secure this data for smooth operations is forcing them to explore new interoperability and integration methods. In the modern era, healthcare APIs are empowering healthcare leaders to face the existing and emerging challenges head-on.