Friday, June 2, 2017

Healthcare Sector and the API Economy

Harvard Business Review talks about the The Untapped Potential of Health Care APIs
Leaders of most internet-based businesses have realized the critical importance of using open application programming interfaces (APIs) to expand the reach of their organizations. If the health care industry followed suit, the impact on the quality and cost of care, the patient’s experience, and innovation could be enormous.
IBM has outlined 5 entry points to an API Economy:
  • Creating value by offering APIs that others want
  • Using APIs to help your developers innovate freely
  • Supporting your mobile development team with APIs
  • Making APIs the common language in a hybrid world
  • Linking devices to data on the Internet of Things (IoT)
The first 3 ones seem to be most relevant for any corporation.
A next step could be an exercise to figure out what data resources a Corporation may have which there may be value in exposing to others via APIs.
Several healthcare related open APIs are now accessible via API markeplaces.
A good opportunity for some healthcare player may be moving a step up the value chain and creating a Healthcare API Management Portal/System . Lots of players – insurance companies, hospitals etc. would be providing APIs. APIs in many sectors are “open” APIs but in the healthcare sector there are several privacy related constraints so there is an opportunity for players to create a Healthcare API Management Portal/System which:
  • Helps set up and define rules related to who can access what and how much. A single point clearing house for validating requester credentials and matching it up with what access it should get him/her to the various discrete APIs accessed via the portal. Obviates the need to provide credentials multiple times.
  • Facilitates different sets of rules for different groups of people based on their role (caregiver vs. patient vs. provider etc.)
  • Monitor traffic for usage and abnormal spikes.
  • Provides analytics on how data is being used, for what and by whom.
I am not sure if any player has offered such a System yet. If not, then a good opportunity for someone to get in and get some early traction.
Users will like to have this portal/system because they will have a one-stop shop to access all healthcare related APIs presented to him in a curated fashion on a self-serve platform which s/he can customize/personalize. No need to provide security credentials multiple times.
Companies will like to use such a portal to list their APIs because it makes them easily available to a broader audience without dealing with headache of security validations etc. Reporting available to them as a package.
The business model can either be subscription based from users or could be free for users but a fees from institutional participants. The portal could be accessible as a customized plug-in on institutional websites too.
I may be getting ahead of myself though. Or maybe, not.

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