drchrono, a leading cloud and web based Electronic Health Record (EHR) access Platform provider, has just announced the launch of the drchrono API which will allow developers to create applications that enhance the drchrono platform as well as create third-party healthcare industry applications.
The drchrono platform was originally created to remind patients about their appointments. However over time, users requested that many additional features be added and the platform was expanded to include Electronic Health Record access, scheduling, patient reminders, and billing system.
drchrono offers free and paid accounts and also develops free EHR and healthcare apps for iPad and iPhone such as drchrono Mobile EHR and OnPatient Medical Record PHR. drchrono Mobile EHR is an app that connects doctors with patients allowing healthcare providers to manage their practices anywhere and at any time. OnPatient is an app that allows patients to complete doctor check-in forms (created with the drchronos platform) using their iPad, iPhone or online. The OnPatient app also allows patients to share their medical information with doctors, schedule appointments, view medical bills, and perform other healthcare tasks.
When it comes to technological innovation, the healthcare industry lags far behind most other industries due to government regulations and the "walled gardens" of healthcare data providers. Most healthcare data providers charge developers exorbitant fees for access to healthcare data APIs or deny developers access because their applications do not yet have a large number of users.
Technological innovators have largely avoided developing healthcare applications and other healthcare systems due to strict regulations and the difficulties in accessing healthcare data. Daniel Kivatinos, COO and co-founder of drchrono spoke with ProgrammableWeb and explained that:
"There is something very wrong when healthcare companies charge developers to get access to an API, this stifles innovation. Developers also get the question, how many users do you have? If the developer doesn't have users, most healthcare companies won't talk to them or allow an engineer access to an API to build on. This question also stifles innovation. We at drchrono are removing both of those barriers with our API. We want developers to be able to build on a healthcare platform without an access setup fee. Also developers should be able to access an API with or without users, we are allowing developers to build on top of drchrono without asking for user numbers."
These technological obstacles have left the healthcare industry in a state of "innovative dysfunction," where doctors are often left using antiquated healthcare software incapable of connecting to mobile applications and external healthcare systems. The debacle of the Healthcare.gov website launch is a high profile example of the innovative dysfunction of the healthcare industry as well as the need for government IT procurement reform.
The launch of the drchrono API provides developers, DICOM, physicians, medical billing, and other healthcare industry companies the opportunity to create applications that enhance the drchrono platform as well as create applications that benefit doctors and patients. The API also helps speed up the development process of healthcare applications and provides quick access to patient healthcare information. The current procedure for accessing the APIs of healthcare institutions involves working with the business development team of each institution, which can cause the development of an application to take months and sometimes years to complete.
The drchrono API and developer program were designed to spark a new wave in healthcare application development and the launch of new healthcare industry startups. drchrono is seeking developers to partner with the company to create quality applications that provide an improved User Experience for both doctors and patients. The process works similar to the Apple App Store; developers request access to the drchrono API and develop a healthcare application. The application is then submitted to drchono where it will be reviewed and if approved, will be made available in the drchrono healthcare app store.
The API returns responses in JSON format and API calls require OAuth. API endpoints available include (but not limited to):
- Doctors - First and last name, specialty of the doctor, job title, the doctor's website, phone number, etc.
- Patients - First and last name, name of their primary care doctor, patient's personal information, etc.
- Appointments - Doctor, patient, office, exam room, scheduled time, reason for appointment, etc.
- Offices - Doctor, name, city, address, etc.
At the time of this writing, the drchrono platform has attracted 53,000 physicians and over 2.6 million patients. Developers interested in using the drchrono API and becoming a selected drchrono partner, can request access at drchrono.com/api.
By Janet Wagner. Janet is a Data Journalist and Full Stack Developer based in Toledo, Ohio. Her focus revolves around APIs, open data, data visualization, and data-driven journalism. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.