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Why API-Driven Healthcare Matters

Have you ever used Facebook to log into another website, or given an app access to your location? Then you've been using something built with an API. Almost everyone feels the impact of APIs in their daily lives without noticing.

Put simply, APIs let developers build systems that can talk to each other without human intervention. People who are using our interactive demo will hear us talk about API's a lot, so I wanted to take a moment to discuss why they are fundamentally important for the future of personal care. For example, some of our testers struggled to sign up with their various social media accounts, this was an API failure.

Some phenomenal innovations in the last 10 or 15 years have been enabled by APIs:

Uber = Google Maps + Braintree (billing system)

The idea of your hospital, or pharmacy interacting with other healthcare services in an intelligent way seems a long way off— many of these services exist almost as walled gardens, certainly from a data standpoint. For example, medical professionals don't even know how their patients interact with their medicine. Are they taking their doses correctly? Are they due a prescription refill? Even really basic things like is their patient's diet appropriate for their lifestyle?

In contrast, some of the most popular apps for today’s modern services are built by third parties. A decade ago, Twitter was receiving over 6 billion API calls a day, which come from other apps and websites (imagine what it is receiving now), while over 90% of all social logins to other websites are through Facebook or Google. For end users, it is quick, easy, and secure to connect services together and benefit from this flow of information.

In the same way, API-driven care will give customers the freedom to do incredible things with their data.

  • Have you ever filled in information on a price-comparison site to see if you’re getting the best deals on insurance? Miko APIs could make this process automatic.

  • Want to make a claim through your health insurance? Miko should be able to analyse your data to present you with a refund in seconds.

  • Are patients with similar illnesses on vitamins that you aren't? Miko could compare your data with that of others and provide recommended products for your specific health needs.

  • Want to get fit, but don't know what will work for you? APIs enable computer systems to analyse your exercise routine and dietary regimen, to create an effective programme, manage your interactions with it and maximise your results.

  • Need to provide a proof of ID and proof of address, to “prove” your identity? Instead, “Connect with Miko” to prove your identity in a couple of clicks.

Many of these ideas are at the “proof of concept” stage, but exciting nonetheless. Beyond these, APIs enable organic, emergent behaviours that we’ve not yet even considered. People sometimes ask what we expect to be built upon the Miko API (still in development) and the honest answer is that we don’t know yet. What we do know is that the combination of open healthcare data and the power of technology has the potential to transform people’s lives.

What will healthcare look like in 10 or 20 years? Who knows? But it is exciting.

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