The first question that we get when introducing MedSitter is “Can this integrate with our EMR?”. The answer is yes – MedSitter data can integrate into an EMR system through our sophisticated API. In this guest blog, our Chief Product Officer, Nicholas Luthy, provides more details surrounding the functionality of that API.
We live in an amazing time when there is typically a software product available to address our needs, whatever those may be. But oftentimes those products live isolated from each other. In the healthtech market, this is evident when products don’t connect to a centralized medical records system (EMR or EHR). In this blog today, I would like to discuss how MedSitter can communicate with external systems in a powerful and flexible manner through our API.
What is an API and why is that our approach?
Simply put, an API - or Application Programming Interface - is a structured and programmatic way that two software systems exchange information. REST-based APIs are a modern and widely used style of API that are highly accessible to nearly any skilled developer today.
What is MedSitter’s API?
MedSitter provides a powerful API to our customers that enables them to dip into MedSitter and pull back nearly all information within the platform. We set out attempting to solve the challenge of being a data-island and ended with a flexible tool that enables all customers. Our APIs allow our customers the opportunity to apply their own business logic and needs to the data obtained from MedSitter. The most direct and obvious application of our APIs is to query information and merge that into a patient’s record within the medical record system. However, the options are not limited to merely EMR interoperability. Logic and connectivity provided by middleware can store information in a data warehouse or data lake. Transactional and event data could be fed into a third-party analytics tool for analysis. Organizations that leverage executive dashboards could easily consume some of our APIs to add metric tiles to their dashboards. These are just a very few of the many ways that an organization could leverage our API and use the data they obtain.
What API related tools does MedSitter provide?
In addition to the API itself, we provide thorough documentation, code samples in multiple languages as well as something we refer to as the “playground”. These tools are designed to enable rapid understanding and comprehension by customer or third-party developers on how to successfully interact with MedSitter through the APIs. The Playground is especially powerful in that - after authenticating - a developer can perform live interactions with the API within the application to see how a request and response look. From there they can copy the actual request and response structures and paste them into their code to ensure accurate syntax and formatting. In addition to our tools, because our API is standards-based there is a wealth of availability and communities on the Internet to support REST based communication and development.
Is an API an “integration”?
Yes. The API helps facilitate the interaction between two systems; however, it is not a pre-packaged solution attempting to be a one-size-fits-all approach. No two health care organizations are the same. There are hundreds of various EMR systems, and multiple different software versions even within the same EMR vendor; and even for the same vendor and version, no two customers have implemented identical configurations of any EMR. This alone - setting aside all the other systems I mentioned earlier in this blog - leads to massive complexity for “pre-packaged” integrations, which rarely if ever deliver on the expectations they espouse. In order to be one-size-fits-all, packaged integrations lack functionality or the specificity of what they offer is too broad. With an API, an organization can build middleware to deposit the data needed, where it is needed, when it is needed.
Will this require effort on my part?
Transparently - Yes. Logically, no integration between two systems is without effort. Our API is designed to enable rapid development in minimal time. A developer with REST experience can reasonably connect to our API and be performing requests and responses within a few hours; the application of business logic, error handling, and placing the data into its final source should be a process of no more than a few days’ worth of effort. This approach provides the most flexibility and control to an organization while being one of the most cost-effective approaches as well!
In the event that you would prefer to leverage a third party to create or be that middleware, we would be thrilled to introduce you to our preferred integration partner that is a healthcare focused data-connectivity platform.
Is the API the only method to export data?
While this blog is primarily focused on our API, actually no - the API is not the only method of obtaining information from MedSitter. MedSitter offers the ability to run “Patient Observation Reports” for a given patient. The designed intent is to support an organization that may be performing an incident investigation, but this capability can serve to export patient data as well. The Patient Observation Report will allow the export of events, notes, or snapshots for a given patient in PDF form delivered to authorized users.
Aggregate data is also available through our Analytics portal. Our analytics data can be viewed within the application, downloaded in a PDF form, or perhaps more excitingly to data folks: obtained in a CSV format that can then be pivoted, molded, or adjusted to your needs. That data could be loaded into a BI tool such as PowerBI or Tableau (or many many others) to explore our data in whole new dimensions.
We are really proud of our API and feel it offers our customers an amazing opportunity to obtain data and the flexibility to do what they need to with that data. However, at MedSitter we are always working on new features and innovations. We plan to continue enhancing our APIs with new capabilities as we work with our customers to understand how our API can serve them better. Some areas that we are considering enhancements are: including snapshots in our APIs and including pre-calculated analytics.
Do you have features to recommend or suggest for the API product? Please reach out - we’d love to chat more about it! Contact us here.