15 Notable Health APIs

Human health tools are evolving, thanks to Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). As standards such as the HL7 FHIR, or Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, are adopted, the exchange of healthcare information is easier, and the access to health data for clinicians, patients, and researchers is driving innovative treatments and cures.

Developers who are interested in creating applications for monitoring health, connecting to healthcare professionals, keeping healthy or preventing illness should check out the ProgrammableWeb Health category to access articles, APIs, SDKs, programming libraries and other pertinent tools. To get you started, here is a list of 15 APIs that can be useful to health app programmers.

Veterans Affair Health API
US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offer an API that helps Veterans gain better access to their private health data. The Veterans Affairs Health APITrack this API allows users to query records kept in the Veteran health database. Users can retrieve data such as patient condition, allergy intolerance, treatments, diagnostic reports and more. This service is an EHR-agnostic RESTful Web Service that is compliant with the FHIR Argonaut Data Query Implementation Guide.

CDC WONDER offers online databases and tools for the analysis of public health data. The CDC WONDER APITrack this API allows users to access data in the WONDER online databases via automated queries in XML format over HTTP, for use in their own web pages or widgets. Data sets cover diseases, birth and death statistics, and health demographics such as race and population statistics. Reports and other query systems are also available.

Blue Button API
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides the Blue Button APITrack this API to enable Medicare beneficiaries to connect their Medicare claims data to applications, services, and research programs. The API enables a developer to register a beneficiary-facing application, enables a beneficiary to grant an application access to four years of their Part A, B, and D claims data, and uses the HL7 FHIR standard for beneficiary data and the OAuth 2.0 standard for beneficiary authorization. Version 2 of the API was released by the the US Digital Service (USDS) in 2018. ProgrammableWeb's David Berlind interviewed USDS product manager Kelly Taylor who spearheaded the initiative. Check out the full video interview and transcript.

Google Cloud Healthcare API
Google's Cloud Healthcare API is now available in beta. The Google Cloud Healthcare APITrack this API provides a RESTful interface to return healthcare insights and data plus analytic tools for visualization and Machine Learning such as BigQuery, vCloud Datalab, Tableau, AutoML and Cloud ML Engine. The API enables device and real-time Integration of datasets, locations, policies and more, with care health care networks that require HIPPA compliance. A Google Cloud Healthcare RPC APITrack this API Track this API is also available.

Microsoft Azure API for FHIR
The Microsoft Azure API for FHIRTrack this API is a fully compliant API for clinical health data that enables users to create applications using analytics, machine learning, and actionable intelligence for health data. It enables the FHIR standardized exchange of data that is backed by a managed PaaS to ingest and manage health information. This API is currently in preview.

Azure Health API

Screenshot: Microsoft

NHS Content API
NHS Choices has created a set of web services to allow approved partners to interact with the NHS Syndicated content, free of charge. The NHS Choices APIsTrack this API return content in a form that can be easily integrated into a website or application, and are available to registered users. They offer access to portions of the NHS website and are listed as Behind the Headlines, Conditions, Live Well, Medicines, Video, Search, Organisation Data, and Organisation inbound.

Air by Propeller Open API
Propeller Health is a respiratory health digital Platform cleared by the FDA that provides tools and services to better manage asthma, COPD and respiratory disease. Propeller analyzes data points including humidity, wind direction, temperature, and pollutants to forecast asthma in specific locations. Air by Propeller Open APITrack this API enables developers to use Propeller's asthma condition forecast in their own applications so users may find current air quality information based on their geolocation.

Air by Propeller is a suite of tools for determining asthma conditions

Air by Propeller is a suite of tools for determining asthma conditions. Image: Propeller Health

Human API
The Human APITrack this API abstracts and stores data from mobile devices, wearable sensors, and other data sources. The service aims to make available all the activity data generated by health tracking devices that monitor blood glucose, wight, physical activity, caloric intake, blood pressure, and many others data types. API components include: Connect, a component to authenticate users' health data from all sources, Data API to manage users' health data, and Human API Portal to manage and view connections plus access data.

Dexcom API
The Dexcom APITrack this API enables secure authorization to Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor) data for use in third party applications, and is userful for creatiing diabetes management applications. Data available through the API includes estimated glucose values, calibrations, events, statistics, and more. The goal of the service is to drive innovative solutions to monitor, manage, and combat diabetes.

Dexcom API

Screenshot: Dexcom

Fitbit Heart Rate API
Fitbit offers wearable wristbands to track users activities. In 2018, Fitbit partnered with Google to push health data generated by its fitness trackers to the cloud, where medical application developers can put it to work. This technology relies on APIs, such as the Fitbit Heart Rate APITrack this API, which returns time series data in a specified range for Heart Rate Zones, Calories Out for Cardio, Fat burn and Peak, Resting Heart Rate and more. Fitbit also provides other APIs for collecting data for health apps including SleepTrack this API and ExerciseTrack this API APIs.

Sickweather Nightingale
Sickweather scans social media websites for indicators of various types of sickness in order to identify outbreaks for a given location. The Sickweather Nightingale APITrack this API provides access to location-based information on contagious illnesses. The API's calls let users get individual reports, the local forecast, and the contagious illness threat level for a location. The API can also be used to submit a report of an illness.

Sickweather API

Screenshot: Sickweather

ProPublica Vital Signs
The ProPublica Vital Signs APITrack this API was designed for use by consumer-facing and B2B app developers looking to access data about medical providers. The API returns data regarding providers' standings with federal health programs, office visits and costs, relationships with pharmaceutical companies and device companies, prescribing patterns, surgeries, and more.

World Air Quality Index
The World Air Quality Index project provides air pollution awareness and air quality information for places around the world. The World Air Quality Index REST APITrack this API allows developers to access and integrate applications with air quality information for more than 70 countries, including 9000 stations in 600 major cities. Some example API methods include geo-based queries, retrieving air quality data for cities and regions, and retrieving current weather conditions.

drchrono is an electronic health records app provider. Their products include a patient care platform, the On-Patient check-in app, and an electronic medical billing center. All three products can be integrated into a unified workflow and allow medical workers to customize their electronic approach to patient care. The drchrono APITrack this API exposes the entirety of their products functions for integration with new apps.

OHDSI (Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics) is a multi-stakeholder, interdisciplinary collaborative created to provide access to observational health data. The community includes stakeholders from clinical medicine, biostatistics, computer science, epidemiology, life sciences, researchers, patients, providers, payers, product manufacturers, regulators and more. The OHDSI WebAPITrack this API is a RESTful service layer which provides access to OHDSI data about procedures, healthcare policy changes, condition occurrences, drug exposure and more.

But this is just a sample of the Health APIs that are listed on ProgrammableWeb. To see the full list, head on over to our Health category for more than 260 APIs, 97 SDKs, and 85 Code Samples to peruse.

Be sure to read the next Health article: ProgrammableWeb's Most Clicked, Shared and Talked About APIs of 2019: Health, IoT, and Environment