2018: A turning point for interoperability

Published - Written by Tina Joros, JD

Healthcare is hyper-focused on interoperability. We hear about it at every conference, in every budget conversation, in government regulations and discussions around the world. The pace of innovation has been ramping up over the past few years, but 2018 will be bigger than ever for advocates of open, interoperable and connected healthcare technology. 

Increasing complexity requires swift, innovative solutions

We’re seeing providers and health systems starting to use FHIR® apps to attest for Meaningful Use and engage with patients. The final TEFCA regulations will further clarify consumer rights to access health information and continue to drive access to even more information. As HIEs, industry alliances and government entities weigh in on what it means to be interoperable, we anticipate more guidance on provider-to-provider exchange of information.

We are moving beyond a 1:1, linear approach to health data exchange, to a robust network that enables us to move data in more directions than ever before. The need for point-to-point connections is still very real. But more and more, I’m seeing increasingly complex needs – a patient needs to communicate with a primary care physician, who needs to communicate with a hospital and check a state registry and save a document into the patient record. 

The scenarios come from the real-world struggles of actual patients, providers and caregivers who have waited long enough to have the tools and integration options to really communicate and exchange data the way they want to. They come from stakeholders who’ve never been part of the discussion about what solutions can improve patient care and to get information into the right hands. 

The important role of APIs

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), or sets of tools and specifications that enable software to interact, are becoming increasingly important in the journey toward interoperability. APIs are a simple, cost-effective way to make data more mobile and give consumers more control over their information.

For more than 11 years, Allscripts has been promoting the value of API-based integration with open systems and connected communities of health. We invite third-party developers to build solutions on top of our electronic health records (EHRs) using our open, intelligent APIs.

Developers can choose from three different ways to connect with our solutions:

  • Developer Open Access Account – Free and open to any individual or company who would like to use Allscripts FHIR-enabled APIs, no approval or testing required.
  • ADP Integrator Category – Pay-per-use model available for any company with full access to Allscripts FHIR-enabled APIs, our proprietary Unity APIs, and other functionality to optimize your integration to Allscripts products. Includes an Allscripts Integrator logo.
  • ADP Partner – Being a full ADP Partner includes a dedicated account owner, technical support, an Allscripts Application Store on-line profile with lead capabilities and other marketing opportunities such as event invitations, program logos and select advertisements and campaigns.

To date, we have nearly 7,000 registered developers using our APIs and we’ve had more than 1600 client activations with third-party API solutions. Since 2013, our solutions have had more than 3.5 billion data shares and passed the billion mark for data shares for the first time in a single year. We’re creating an interoperable ecosystem where meaningful exchange is happening, and that exchange is creating value for the healthcare system.

Momentum will usher in a new era of interoperability

APIs have a lot of momentum, and increasing numbers of vendors and providers are adopting them. I love it when a company comes to us with a workflow that we haven’t seen before, it often means we’ve moved beyond the basics and into new territory. I’m so happy to be part of the solution and working every day toward a better tomorrow.

Interoperability is not just a buzzword and a trend, but will become our everyday experience – if we keep talking, collaborating and working together to make interoperability happen. To learn more about the Allscripts Developer program, check out developer.allscripts.com.