Kaiser’s open API to spur new apps
June 4, 2013 in Medical Technology
Kaiser Permanente will launch June 5 its first application interface program, Interchange by Kaiser Permanente. The secure program enables collaboration between Kaiser Permanente and application developers to improve healthcare and health-related experiences in ways that never before have been possible, Kaiser executives say. Interchange makes information that is already in the public domain accessible in a more efficient way, enabling app development outside of Kaiser Permanente, thereby benefitting consumers in the form of a broader variety of apps.
“We’re excited to see what developers come up with as we open up secure, public data sets,” Phil Fasano, Kaiser executive vice president and CIO, said in a news release. “Imagine being able to download a mobile app so customized that it shows you nearby restaurants that cater to your healthy lifestyle and offers food suggestions based on the amount of activity you have completed in the last week, your nutrition plan and friends’ reviews. Once you’ve finished your meal, a device synced to your app reports your blood-sugar levels and reminds you to pick up insulin, then tells you the nearest Kaiser Permanente pharmacy where you can pick it up. Interchange by Kaiser Permanente is the beginning of that possibility.”
Initially, Interchange by Kaiser Permanente will make the healthcare provider’s public facility and location information available for third-party developers to integrate into apps. This includes location, hours of operation and specialty information for Kaiser Permanente’s 37 hospitals and more than 600 medical offices.
[See also: Kaiser patients go mobile.]
As Kaiser officials describe it, an API is an interface with pieces of code that allow applications to communicate with each other – crafted to expose only chosen data while safeguarding other parts of the application. Application developers use APIs to create integrated apps that provide a seamless and more dynamic user experience.
By providing developers with an easy and secure connection to Kaiser Permanente’s public data, Interchange by Kaiser Permanente will shorten development time, support quality apps that are accurate and effective, and expand the variety of health-management apps available to consumers, allowing them to use what aligns with their lifestyles.
An example of a commonly used API is foursquare. The foursquare API is used by Instagram, Vine, Evernote, Garmin, Uber and other applications to integrate location data into their services.
Kaiser Permanente will launch Interchange by Kaiser Permanente with a code-a-thon June 5-6 in Washington, D.C., during Health Data and Innovation Week. Developers will be invited to create apps using Kaiser Permanente public facility and location information.