Top executives at three electronic health record companies — Allscripts, Cerner and Epic — revealed that they’re working to make their EHRs more open.
That means embracing APIs as a means to enable third-parties to write software and apps that run on their platforms.
“We need to continue to push the entire industry forward around interoperability and really open our platform to take advantage of all the bright minds in healthcare today,” Cerner President Zane Burke said at HIMSS17. “We’re working with third parties today in the standards way and collaborating on multiple levels to really get the full value of all the investment in healthcare.”
Allscripts CEO Paul Black said publishing APIs that third parties can use to create apps for its platform “is a big deal” and, in fact, the company has some 5,000 developers certified to do just that: Some 2 billion API data exchanges have been conducted on its platform since 2013.
“I want people creating an ecosystem that I’m the center of, of course, from which I encourage people to pull information out so they can take better care of their patients,” said Black said in a pre-HIMSS17 Q&A.
Epic, for its part, is working on two new versions of its EHR and developing Kit to go with its Caboodle data warehouse (as in Kit and Caboodle). CEO Judy Faulkner said Kit “is making everything very open,” such that third-parties can write Kit-based apps to access data in Caboodle.
“Kit is all the data that a customer has, all the data that comes from interfaces,” Faulkner explained. “It’s there for the customer to choose who they feel should have access to their data and then give them that access.”
The increasingly open platforms will ideally enable more effective interoperability of health data for care coordination, patient identification and population health management.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done around patient identification and matching – the fidelity of the patient matching,” Cerner’s Burke said.
Allscripts Black echoed Burke’s sentitment that it’s going to be important for EHR vendors to keep pushing forward.
“Instead of saying ‘that was great we’re done’ and sitting back in a rocking chair now it’s, ‘Holy Moly we have all of this data what are we going to do with it?'” Black said. “And how do we use all this data to drive more efficient, effective care that produces better outcomes for people who have serious issues?'”