Patients having control of their data and information has always been a core focus for Softheon. But now, more than ever, Americans are hungry for ways to manage their own personal health. In a way, the pandemic has forced healthcare providers and businesses of all sectors to find a way to improve the virtual connection with patients and customers. The journey may have always been about the patient, but today’s providers recognize just how important it is to connect all the dots and put all the information in the patient’s hands.
Critical data management tools are available and can help significantly improve the patient journey. There is one solution to this new demand for personal patient data and cross-platform coordination. Interoperability and data transmission can be made possible through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs.) If your clinic or medical facility hasn’t leveraged the incredible benefits of APIs yet, you could be doing both your practice and your patients a disservice. APIs are more than just a method of connecting data – they can connect people.
A Changing Landscape Turned Landslide
There was a slow and steady crawl to the virtual realm of doctors treating patients and an expansion of digital patient data connection. The industry as a whole has been heading toward a connected patient and professional environment. But with the onset of the pandemic this year, that movement has become more of a sprint, out of necessity. Patients need a safe way to connect with their doctors, medical staff, and their critical health documents. Professionals are fast recognizing, too, that the demand far exceeds telehealth medicine tools for remote patients. There is a mainstream demand and call for an improved patient journey.
The Patient Journey Example
Imagine you have a patient who, like many Americans, has a chronic condition. Or maybe this patient just isn’t feeling well or has a fevered child. This patient might first go online to self-diagnose. From there, the patient clicks on your medical advice service or tries to book an appointment with your facility using a digital calendar feature. But the patient journey doesn’t end there. Imagine now this same patient, upon booking an appointment, then wants to visit her health insurance provider portal online to check deductibles or verify copays. Filling prescriptions might have this patient searching for drug costs or researching side effects, too. And these steps are compounded with post-visit billing inquiries and payments.
The moral of this story? This patient visited five or six different websites and spent a considerable amount of time looking for information before ultimately managing a health appointment. Each platform is independent and directs the patient to jump through a series of hoops from symptoms to billing. It’s no wonder many Americans put off seeking health advice or care, general. No one wants to spend this much time exploring information and managing personal patient data.
But what if there were a way to connect these patient data points? Why is it easier to book a family vacation online than it is to treat an illness or manage a diagnosis digitally?
The API Solution to the Patient Journey Experience
There is a cure for the fragmented patient experience. Application programming interfaces are the tools that make connecting those complex data interactions a reality. Interoperability between channels is realized when APIs are designed to harness and funnel the critical information into a streamlined platform. APIs are customizable and can plan for privacy and online security, making their implementation a no-brainer for most every clinic, medical facility, and healthcare provider.
APIs can present solutions to workflow inefficiencies, as well as improving the patient journey. Connecting the various platforms makes paying, providing, subscribing, and engaging a more seamless process across the board. And having critical data points funneled into one convenient interface means making that doctor’s appointment easier and requiring fewer steps. Imagine your patient engaging at one touchpoint to make scheduling the visit, viewing the medial history, verifying the copays, and exploring prescription side effects simple in one effective engagement.
APIs Make Sense in a Variety of Industries
Don’t assume application programming interfaces are a new digital tool without having proven results. APIs have been popular in other industry segments, including Uber platforms. As a case in point, consider the travel industry. An individual can hop online and review a destination. He can oftentimes select a vacation, book the flight, pay the airfare, schedule hotel stays, take care of vehicle rental, book a parasailing adventure, and pay for dinners in one, collaborative online experience. If he would have to visit ten different websites and self-coordinate the vacation itinerary, he probably wouldn’t take very many vacations. The APIs make these data points connectible and, in the end, a pleasurable experience for this soon-to-be beachgoer.
New Year, New Accountability
There are new benchmarks all payers should gear up to change next year. Beginning with the new plan year, on and any date after January 1, 2021, payers will be required to implement application programming interface solutions. The interoperability bar is raising, and applicable participants will need to maintain a secure, standards-based platform. Patients will be able to access clinical information, individual claims, and healthcare professionals through any third-party application of their choosing.
Application programming interfaces really just represent the shifting industry’s best practices and the advancement of patient-centered tools. And most providers within the healthcare setting know that patient health is the focal point of every data management solution. At Softheon, whether you’re looking to expand or are already in an existing market, our core mission has always been centered on transparency and availability of data to patients and improving the patient experience. Interoperability with APIs is just one way to make it better for them and more streamlined for your practice.