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APIs for a Healthcare App Economy

This report stems from a series of conversations we had at HIMSS16 on the topic of open application programming interfaces (APIs)


Provider organizations seek simpler, more effective ways to develop and integrate HIT applications. Major stakeholders now believe that open APIs represent a new opportunity to build the kind of successful application economy so prevalent in other industries. What is missing so far is a good understanding of how this can be achieved in an already rapidly changing healthcare industry. Open APIs can trigger a restructuring of relationships among HIT vendors, HCOs, and new entrants at least as complex as the transformation being caused by evolving payment models. With few exceptions, existing HIT technologies have not delivered the level of interoperability and services needed to support new models of care and care coordination or satisfy the data needs of the varied constituencies in healthcare.

The purpose of this report is to shed light on the market’s readiness to move the industry toward API-based development and integration. Four leading health information technology vendors joined Chilmark Research to sponsor this research: Cerner, InterSystems, Orion Health, and PokitDok. For HCOs, this report provides a snapshot of current thinking about the potential for open APIs, which will enable them to assess their own position and strategies. For vendors, this report is an opportunity to evaluate their product roadmaps from the perspective of a pressing, and mostly unmet need in the industry.

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