It’s heavy tech time at THCB. Health 2.0 is running a developer conference called Health:Refactored on May 13-4, and a big topic there will be the opening of APIs from Microsoft, Intel, Walgreens, NY Health Information Network, MedHelp, Nuance and more. What’s an API, why does it matter for health care? Funny you should ask but Andy Oram from O’Reilly Radar wrote an article for THCB all about it!–Matthew Holt
As the health care field inches toward adoption of the computer technologies that have streamlined other industries and made them more responsive to users, it has sought ways to digitize data and make it easier to consume. I recently talked to two organizations with different approaches to sharing data: the SMART platform and the Apigee corporation. Both focus on programming APIs and thus converge on a similar vision off health care’s future. But they respond to that vision in their own ways. Differences include:
SMART is an open source project run by a medical school and is partially government-funded; Apigee is a private company.
SMART tries to establish a standard; Apigee accepts whatever APIs its customers are using and bridges between them.
”…address well-documented problems that have impeded adoption of health IT and to accelerate progress towards achieving nationwide meaningful use of health IT in support of a high-performing, learning health care system.”
One of these grants was awarded to a Harvard group led by Drs. Ken Mandl and Isaac Kohane, based in Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. This research team is tackling the problems associated with developing an ecosystem of modular, plug-and-play medical applications, what we have referred to as Clinical Groupware. (Disclosure: DCK is on the Harvard SHARP grant’s advisory board.)
The research is aimed at creating a “medical apps store” based on the iPhone/iPad model of substitutable applications running on a device or platform. The name of the project, SMArt, stands for “Substitutable Medical Applications, re-useable technology.” The approach could impact both the EHR industry and the federal regulatory and standards process, possibly within a relatively short period, i.e., 1-3 years, so we think it merits your attention.