In advance of the AHIMA21 Virtual Conference, we have invited session speakers to explore their healthcare domains through short blog posts. You can learn more about individual speakers and their specific sessions via the links at the end of each post. In this post, speaker Jaime James discusses one of the fastest growing software technologies in the world—application program interfaces.
The healthcare app economy is growing and will continue to grow as FHIR application program interfaces (APIs) are adopted within certified health IT products.
Spurring this growth are two regulations—the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s 21st Century Cures Act and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Interoperability and Patient Access final rules.
These regulations support a standardized, transparent, and pro-competitive healthcare ecosystem that will continue to accelerate innovation and improve the interoperability of our healthcare data.
One indication of this growth is the money being invested in the healthcare sector. Per Deloitte, venture capital funding for health tech innovation doubled in 2020 from 2019, hitting $14 billion. This spending is expected to continue unabated throughout 2021. More than 200 new health applications are being developed per day.
As modern software applications are deployed and innovation continues, healthcare will transform.
Telehealth applications have come to the forefront due to the pandemic and the industry is seeing growth in the use of personal health record applications.
At the 2021 HIPAA Summit, it was noted that EPIC had 3.5 billion data calls from Apple Health. While a key focus of the Cures Act and several provisions of the CMS final rule is to empower patients with their information, APIs also have the ability to reduce clinician burden by providing innovative tools that providers can use to streamline their processes. For instance, FHIR APIs allow access to individual pieces of data which enables providers to only obtain the relevant information they need (e.g., medications).
However, there are still challenges. One of the biggest concerns is that most third-party applications are not covered by HIPAA. While federal and state laws provide some protection, the industry is grappling with this issue. The good news is industry best practices are emerging. Another challenge is that until FHIR is implemented, many organizations do not connect to third-party applications such as Apple Health.
Given this transformation, HIM professionals must have an understanding of APIs, including the benefits and challenges. HIM is poised to be a leader in the discussions and governance around the use of these electronic technology tools.
Jaime James (email@example.com) is senior HIM consultant of legislative policy and compliance, MMRA. She will co-present the session Transforming Healthcare through APIs and Third-Party Apps: The HIM Perspective with Christine Rys, RHIA, Consultant, MMRA and Cardone Record Services during the AHIMA21 Virtual Conference on Monday, Sept. 21, from 3:15 pm–4:05 pm. Register for AHIMA21 here and add Jaime’s session to your calendar of events.