Interesting Healthcare APIs To Consider

Doctor using healthcare API with patient lying on bed beside

Inherent operating system flexibility is one of the main causes of the optimization capabilities of current hardware. Much like the reliable DOS programs of old, mobile apps provide almost any kind of functionality or option that you could think of… only this now with the element of portability. This is partly a combination of both hardware integration and flexible software coding, which aid in the free processing of data and its transmission to all relevant points in a global network.

So, when designing data interfacing applications for more general medical purposes, the same idea of portability and convenience would also be the default priority. A number of interesting healthcare APIs have become available over the years. Here are some of them for you to check out.

Why Even Use Healthcare-Specific API?

handing typing on a MacBook air
Credit by via Flickr

APIs can be integrated into just about any app. More flexible ones can differ vastly in use depending on the nature of the software into which it is integrating. However, aside from the obvious database creation advantages, there are other technical merits in building your medical application within a healthcare-focused API:

Opens a Reliable Data Portal – data storage and gathering is at the heart of every software development, application, and accompanying API. Therefore, if explicitly used for healthcare applications, security and privacy would come in different certifications and regulations. Remember, passwords aren’t the only thing patients would worry about when it comes to accessing their data freely.

Inspire Fresh App Ideas – much like data security, data access is also integral to every API, whether it is used for processing, analysis, or simply for fetching. With such access to medical data, it is possible to collate (reliable/confirmed) information from many different sources. This could then boost the discovery rate of new treatments, therapies and enhance the study of the illnesses and diseases that often show up in these data systems.

Universal Data Management – allows APIs to facilitate easier exchange of data, with other automated processes carrying the information where it is needed. This is especially convenient with long-time established databases, where simply looking up the information in a search bar just isn’t efficient enough anymore. Moreover, this is done with a single, universal, and simplified set of management solutions, so access is still exclusive to authorized users.

Streamlined Development and Design – unlike a more generic API where you still have to more or less recreate entire database structures, healthcare API-powered medical apps can simply use pre-designed tools and features. This not only speeds up development but it also makes it way more convenient, allowing for fewer coding complications and errors.

Potentially Enhance Treatment (Itself) – lastly, APIs in healthcare may actually contribute to better treatment methods or at the very least optimize all other related procedures to the point of maximum efficiency.

For example, AI-powered analytics and assessment features can help draw out patterns and observations in a medical database for a preliminary diagnosis. Alternatively, it could predict (with relative accuracy) if and when a treatment option would be needed for patients with chronic illnesses. This is something that just cannot be done easily with a  non-optimized API.

Now that we have more or less explained the advantages, let’s move on to the actual APIs:

For Wearable Health Data: Fitbit

first generation Nokia
Credit by N i c o l a via Flickr

Health wearables are some of the most important devices in healthcare today, not because of what they do, but because of the sheer amount of information that they can collect at once. Data integrity aside, gaining access to all of that for your very own app development or data resource feature can be a good portal of information for any medical team to check out.

This is even more convenient as Fitbit API itself can be quite easy to use, with mostly straightforward coding to retrieve any specific information from the wearables. In fact, you could even just create an automated software that would fetch this data for archiving. Of course, such an application would require the patient sample to be small enough for manual analysis without the aid of an AI. But hey, it works.

For Preliminary Diagnostics: Symptom Checker

Dr holding a smart device
Credit by NEC Corportation of America via Flickr

Health-related searches on sites like Google may not be accurate or even safe to do, but it provides a frontline option for those who potentially seek medical attention. What if you empower that type of search, and make it actually usable for an application? That is the basic concept of Symptom Checker.

While most APIs in healthcare try to integrate actively archived personal patient data, the Symptom Checker API sprinkles in an additional diagnostic engine to filter the necessary data for preliminary diagnosis. In addition, the analysis is also connected to other tools and suggested courses of action to give doctors further specific information to ascertain a diagnosis.

Finally, a triage assessment option is also available, which can be added into the software-based decision making “layer” of your apps to include urgent priorities. As the company’s promotion statement goes, the API is not meant to supplant physicians, but instead to augment them.

For Diagnostic Interactions: Infermedica

UI of medical app
Credit by Infermedica

Infermedica API, in many ways, has features that are quite similar to Symptom Checker. After all, it is also mostly an AI-powered diagnostic and triage assessment platform, performing medical conclusions that can then be integrated into other software and applications.

But the important difference here is how clinical support is implemented. Symptom Checker may well be suited to natural language processing by simply providing your own custom integration. Infermedica, on the other hand, already has both a tool and guide, which could greatly help healthcare app developers that are focusing on customer service chatbots. Indeed, many of the endpoint clients of Infermedica are typically insurance companies and hospital systems that may need the human interaction layer in one form or another.

In addition, it is also notable that Infermedica itself (the company) owns its self-developed symptom checker tool. This is not to be confused with (the aforementioned) ApiMedic’s Symptom Checker API, which is completely different.

For Health Insurance Systems: Eligible

Mock UP of UI
Credit by Eligible

Speaking of APIs in healthcare insurance, there is probably no more balanced an option than Eligible. The primary goal of any healthcare insurance API is to facilitate easier interfacing with the insurance company. For that objective, Eligible API delivers the simplest and easiest option to process requests for any operation with their huge healthcare insurance database… or so it seems.

At the very least, those who are looking for a nice, simple tool that can create and retrieve financial transactions on almost any healthcare insurance company available are in for a convenient treat with Eligible. For example, if your online hospital management software requires the integration of insurance company processes to automate billing, then Eligible can be your straightforward option.

For the Jack-of-All-Trades Anything: DrChrono

Applications using Healthcare API's
Credit by DrChrono

While it is understandable for healthcare APIs to specialize and stand out, the primary category of overall management and data processing still forms the spearhead of the most versatile of these services today.

DrChrono API is perhaps one of the most notable examples of this. As a data interfacing provider, the company aims to provide a universal platform that would facilitate different processes for every field of medicine available. There are administrative development tools to help shorten clinical documentation processing. Typical billing systems that can fetch patient data is standard fare.

The DrChrono healthcare API can even facilitate more unique and somewhat underutilized applications, such as remote patient care. In fact, DrChrono (the company) has one of the biggest growing lists of official development partners, with apps such as Physitrack and DeepScribe integrating its features well with their services.

For Very Specific Use Cases: ManageBGL

old medical device
Credit by Mike Mozart via Flickr

Of course, if there are all-rounder APIs in healthcare, there will also be other APIs that specialize even more than typical options. ManageBGL API is a platform that probably provides one of the most convenient ways to integrate diabetes-related information into apps and software.

The key selling point by the company is “empowerment.” These are not just options to view information or make generalized recommendations. The API can even be made to provide (relatively reliable) insulin level predictions without using an external device. The accuracy of the data using its platform would, of course, determine its ultimate efficiency.

But, when implemented well, this blood sugar and carbs data will be conveyed to your prescribed doctor with the best comprehension possible. As with many other recommendations in this list, its software development tools are introduced with the best examples to help users get started immediately.

For No-Frills Integration Development: Human API

UI diagram of medical device
Credit by Human API

Yes, there is such a thing as being “free” when it comes to APIs in healthcare. Human API, at a glance, may seem like your average medical database optimizer. But its platform connects and integrates with a slightly more advanced machine learning system than others. Why “slightly more advanced”? Simply put, it learns with an already very well established database.

As for its services, its best merit is that it is perfectly scalable. Simpler forms of embedding its health data APIs can significantly boost app usability due to the aforementioned advanced AI. Okay, suppose you are not integrating into its multiple databases. In that case, Human healthcare API can also provide the option to find your own method, as a developer, to share local health data via their platform.

Best of all, Human API is still currently accepting applications for COVID-19 database app systems for absolutely free. This includes all integration resources for any affiliated group or organization also tasked with the same objective.

For Multi-Grade, Multi-Scalar Applications: Cloud Healthcare API (Google)

cloud healthcare API
Credit by Google

Finally, Google Healthcare API features some of the most comprehensive data exchange features that you can possibly get for a healthcare-focused API. This is Google, after all, and access to its cloud services means that all database solutions are within your firm grasp…provided Google gets to benefit from the data used/collected as well.

But what exactly are we getting? Well, much like all other similar APIs in healthcare, AI-powered features will form the bulk of all “intelligent analytics” that Google Healthcare API can provide. Perhaps you are looking to develop an integrated patient database that could pull out information in every aspect of the medical operation, including billing and insurance. Maybe you want to track treatment data to get additional insights that you won’t get on another machine learning system? Or perhaps, you just want a simple, secure system that can be universal to all applications built into it?

On paper, at least, it seems Google Healthcare API can provide such services at any scale.

Gauging What You Need

Price will undoubtedly play a role in choosing the APIs in healthcare that you might need for a specific application. But, we did not include such information due to the simple fact that costs can vary wildly depending on the API provider’s specialization. As a rule of thumb, the more generalized its API can be, the wider (not higher) the potential costs.

As for healthcare APIs that seem to offer similar specializations, that is where the cost probably comes into play. That being said, if the API packages come with very intuitive instructions, and if the coding system itself is relatively easier to implement, then perhaps the convenience of use should be your higher priority.

How about newer healthcare API startups in the future? It is possible that newer AI technologies could help establish newer players in this ever-growing technological ecosystem.

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