Editor's Note: This is the second of many profiles to come of what ProgrammableWeb is calling it's "Growth Series." The first growth profile was about MapBox. One objective of this series is to profile API providers that are driving growth in 3rd-party consumption of their APIs so that other API providers can learn about what works and what doesn't from real world practitioners. If you're an API provider that's interested in being profiled by ProgrammableWeb for this series, please contact us at email@example.com.
The days of medical data being kept as paper files in rows of file cabinets in a hospital or a doctor's office are coming to a close. Today with the advent of ubiquitous, secure API services to store and retrieve information (and as long as hospital administrators don't stand in the way of progress), medical data should be able follow the patient wherever he or she goes, from the New York to Naples and back again. Breakthroughs in Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology make this possible. As long as a healthcare provider has a digital tablet and a connection to the Internet, any doctor, anywhere should be able to manage a patient's medical data by subscribing to an EHR management service.
Many times, just using a packaged website isn't enough. Medical professionals want applications that are better suited to their particular needs. For example, the ability to retrieve and relate patient data from multiple dissimilar EHR systems (ie: a patient's primary care physician and his or her endocrinologist). Thus, third party developers are using EHR management APIs to meet the unique needs of each consumer. More developers are using rapid application development techniques to create custom client applications that leverage the power of a robust EHR Management API. drchronoTrack this API is becoming the API of choice for many of these third party developers. Since November of 2016 when it first started keeping track, the API provider has experienced over 170% growth in third party consumption of its API (as shown in the chart below). There's a reason why.
Life is short, build stuff that matters.
ProgrammableWeb spent some time talking with co-founders Michael Nusimow, CEO and Daniel Kivatinos, COO of drchrono in order to understand the reason for the company's growth. Kivatinos attributes some of growth to the increasing interest in healthcare IT among the investment community which has had the indirect effect of increasing use of the drchrono API. According to COO Kivatinos,
"The health IT accelerator/incubator movement is amazing. Let's take Y Combinator. They are investing more aggressively in healthcare, it is refreshing to see."
Developers making health care products are seeing more funding coming their way and as a result many turn to the drchrono API to provide the data their applications need.
CEO Nusimow attributes drcrhonos's developer support as a driving factor for growth. Nusinow explains that maintaining an ongoing presence in the company's Google Group has been a critical component for spreading the use of its API among developers. Says Nusimow:
"We have a thriving community of developers in a Google Group. Our internal R&D team reads the email list for this group and replies to questions that the community cannot answer. Also, we have dozens of open-source projects on GitHub, built on our API that developers can learn from."
Also, Nusimow points out that the drchrono's App Directory provides a showcase for applications that use the company's API. Getting into the App Directory translates into more customers for developers which means more use of the drchrono API and more revenue for drchrono. According to Nusinow,
"Building on the drchrono API and getting published in our App Directory will get developers new customers. Our App Directory is a thriving eco-system of trusted applications that the entire drchrono user base can get access to with 1-click. We also invite all published App Directory partners to come onsite to our offices in Silicon Valley and present their product to our entire company which helps to educate our sales team and account managers on these amazing 3rd party products so they can in turn educate our customer base about them and help get these partners new customers."
Clearly drchrono has seized the market opportunities at hand. The company was founded in 2009 by Nusimow and Kivatinos. Both Kivatinos and Nusimow have degrees in Computer Science. This makes a difference. The company was not started by a set of doctors who saw an opportunity to make some money in healthcare software. Rather, Kivatinos and Nusimow are skilled developers who want to improve the state of healthcare through technical innovation. According to Kivatinos, "Life is short, build stuff that matters."
Kivatinos and Nusimow wrote the early versions of drchrono. Both understand that when it comes to modern, mobile computing, the app is only as good as the underlying API it consumes. Thus, Kivatinos and Nusimow had the foresight to make a well-crafted API that serves as the foundation for drchrono's own client applications. In addition, the founders had the wisdom to make the drchrono API available to third party developers who have interest in EHR management services. Today any developer can make a world class healthcare application using the EHR management services provided by the drchrono API. The result has been a win-win for drchrono and independent application developers. Third party developers are one of the fastest growing segments of the company's business.
The Nuts and Bolts
drchrono was founded in 2009 by COO Daniel Kivatinos and CEO Michael Nusimow. The company employs 90 people in the U.S, of which 21 are developers, with offices in Mountain View California and Hunt Valley Maryland.
The drchrono API offers a wide range of services that medical practices can use to enhance the efficiency of their operations. These services include appointment scheduling, managing patients and their medical records, and billing. Also, the API provides services for prescription management, messaging to and from a doctor as well as facility management, for example scheduling exam room usage. Figure 1, below shows the many resources that make up the drchrono API as of version v2016_06. The API reflects a fine granularity of services.
Figure 1: the drchrono API provides a wide scope of services
Developers can weave these services in applications that provide unique experiences for healthcare professionals.
Consuming the API