Clinicians and other healthcare end-users hope the digital revolution in consumer applications and in other industries will begin happening in healthcare. Eventually. According to a new report from healthcare IT analysis firm Chilmark Research, www.chilmarkresearch.com, there is consensus that it is incumbent on the largest HIT (healthcare information technology) vendors and their large HCO (healthcare organization) customers to lead the way in the development of an API (application programming interface) program that can support the application ecosystem so prevalent outside healthcare.

The leading candidate for an open set of healthcare APIs is based on the FHIR standard with strong support from the largest vendors and HCOs. Smaller HCOs and vendors are less concerned with whether APIs are open or proprietary for the moment.

Physicians see APIs as a way to make EHRs (electronic health records) more functional and user responsive. But it is not just EHRs where APIs can make a difference.

Building and operating an API program will be a new undertaking for most HCOs and they will need support and guidance from the major HIT vendors. A small number of HIT vendors have such a program but many are just beginning to get serious about API programs.

The report says that healthcare stakeholders see APIs as a means to speed up what most regard as inevitable—better applications for HCO users and patients in support of better outcomes, improved patient experience, improved clinician experience, and lower costs.