The VA Introduces its First Health API

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced its first Health APITrack this API. The goal of the API is to empower the next generation of web and mobile apps that allow Veterans to interact with their personal health data. The API is the next logical step in the VA's Blue Button initiative: a VA initiative that enables Veterans to gain access to their health data by visiting a website and downloading the data with the single click of a blue button.

"We are excited to announce this advancement in the way we deliver services," Robert Wilkie, VA Secretary, commented in a VA press release. "Healthcare interoperability plays a key role in all four of VA's top priorities, from implementing the MISSION Act and modernizing our electronic health record, to transforming our business systems and delivering better customer service. VA is proud to serve as a leader and example in this field."

API access to Veteran health data will help spark the development on both the patient and the clinician side of health care. On the Veteran/patient side, Veterans will be able to aggregate their data, share and access through smart apps, devices, and other means. On the clinician side, healthcare providers will have the ability to gain full access to Veterans medical history and other pertinent information to help provide the most comprehensive care.

The VA Health Information API  is RESTful and supports the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard. The API enables a user or an integrated application to query records kept in the Veteran health database. Developers must apply for access to the API with name, email address and organization name.

Be sure to read the next Health article: Microsoft's Azure API for FHIR Enables Storing Health Data in the Cloud