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What APIs Do You Want to See Exposed in 2014?

by Chip Ach, Architect, More Disruption Please

Attention all health care developers and innovators: You may remember that, last spring, we announced our work with Mashery to make our athenahealth API available to our “More Disruption Please” partners, those innovative services that make up the athenahealth Marketplace. Since that announcement, we’ve been working on new and, well, disruptive solutions for our clients, and these new capabilities have been receiving high marks. But we need help from our current (and future!) technology partners: Which APIs would you like us to make available in 2014?

(Don’t know what an API is? Read “athenahealth and Mashery: So What’s an API Anyway?”)

Your first question might be, “Well, what can I currently use your API for?” Well, over the last several months, we’ve been adding a lot of API endpoints (that’s geek-speak for “something you can do with an API”) that are focused around digital patient check-in. We’ve been looking at all of the things that enable a tablet (or mobile “kiosk,” if you will) to take care of administrative work normally managed by front desk staff, so those staff members can focus instead on higher-value tasks. This can include providing forms patients need to fill out, checking demographics and privacy paperwork, asking for and accepting payment, and even formally check in the patient. Some of our partners are also looking into the ability to access a patient’s chart to provide patient-specific educational materials, such as patient education and engagement around diabetes management.

Over the last year, we’ve been happily surprised by the outside-the-box ways our MDP partners are using our API. One partner who was using a traditional (HL7-based ADT/SIU) interface came to us, asking if they could use the API to do patient lookups and create patients in athenaNet – API functionality we originally built for a different purpose. The traditional method of doing this, a bi-directional HL7 ADT interface, can lead to some tricky synchronization issues. Using the API, our partner was able to to add a new piece of functionality quickly, making a better solution for our mutual clients.

We have a long list of what we’d like to work on next — clinical data, referrals, etc. — but we want to hear from our More Disruption Please partners, present and future. We encourage you to take a brief survey about which APIs you’d like for us to open up next. Submit your API ideas here.

And if you’re going to be at South by Southwest (SXSW) Friday, March 7, through Tuesday, March 11, stop by Circus Mashimus lounge—sponsored by Mashery— where we will be demonstrating several partners' latest API innovations.

Follow Chip and his team on Twitter: @athenaMDP.

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