How APIs and design thinking are moving the needle on healthcare innovation

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of the digital economy has revolutionized the way that we engage with patients, empower providers and optimize workflow.

Application programming interfaces and other technologies hold great possibility in addressing system problems of data access, insights delivery and technology implementation.

With APIs and design thinking at the center of these new paradigms, a new mindset is required to engage with and employ these technologies in the healthcare environment.

“A digital economy solution is defined by systems of data, insight, experience and engagement that use composable micro-services and APIs to connect data, workflows and experiences, AL/ML to enrich the systems of insight and experience and digital distribution of the solution across multiple, connected product experiences: APIs, prepared data extracts, apps and full software solutions,” said Gautam “G” Shah, VP of platform and marketplace at Change Healthcare.

He said by using this digital economy and digital-first blueprint, healthcare organizations can create data rich, experience optimized solutions that are easy to access and use.

Gautam, who will speak on the topic at HIMSS21 this week, explained the digital design model allows solution designers to connect the experience, interactions and outcomes they desire to the systems of experience and data that provide them.

He explained efficient use of the digital design model comes from using a solution design model that decouples systems of engagement, insight, experience and data from each other.

“We use APIs to source, process and feed relevant data and insights into experiences and engagements and deliver capabilities in easy-to-use packages, for example APIs, data extracts and applications,” Gautam said.

Productized APIs are “intelligent integrations” and the power behind digital-enabled products.  Because they are treated as products, APIs built to conform to standards such as FHIR ease exchange and access to data.

“Similarly, using APIs, insights can be delivered in a form that best engages their value: directly into another application or its own application and UI,” he said. “Because the creation of the insight is decoupled from its delivery mechanism, the presentation of the insight can be easily enriched with information or engagement models that would otherwise not be available.”

Finally, when data, insights and experiences are delivered via standard APIs, they ease the technology implementation by reducing the size of the integration surface, requiring a minimum of connections between systems.

He noted that as Change Healthcare has used this model and engaged with their customers, they have seen that these digital technologies have varying requirements within a solution.

“Healthcare organizations should be cognizant of this and recognize the need to assess technologies across use cases, not just a single use,” Gautam said.

Gautam Shah will talk more about the digital healthcare economy at HIMSS21 in his session, “Using the Digital Economy to Drive Healthcare Innovation.” It’s scheduled for Wednesday, August 11 from 4:15-4:45 p.m. in Venetian Delfino 4101.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: [email protected]
Twitter: @dropdeaded209


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