Meaningful Use Stage 3 is fast approaching, with an optional 90 day reporting period in 2017 or a full year attestation period in 2018. While the future for Meaningful Use isn’t exactly clear, the introduction of APIs in healthcare is here to stay. To address this evolution in interoperability, we published a white paper that explores APIs, including what the government expects in the coming months.

The following is excerpted from our white paper, APIs in Healthcare: What healthcare providers should know about APIs:

Currently for Meaningful Use Stage 3, providers will have to certify an open, patient-facing, read-only API with a deployed CEHRT (certified EHR). The ONC has made it clear that supporting the patient API is the provider’s responsibility.

The API requirement is currently paired with the View Download Transmit (VDT) threshold requirements, and can either compliment or replace the patient portal given the existing engagement thresholds are still met (5% patient access in 2017, 10% in 2018).

For the specific data types, review the ONC’s 2015 Health IT Certification Criteria PDF. The deadlines and exact requirements for hospitals to certify are still up in the air, but a few hospitals are currently paving the way to support such an API.

APIs are relevant for Objectives 5, Patient Electronic Access, 6, Coordination of Care through Patient Engagement. Meaningful Use Stage 3 is optional in 2017, but required in 2018, and the ONC has published many documents on the API rule for patient access.

Although current API engagement requirements only apply to provider-to-patient interoperability, it is a clear goal of the ONC to promote provider-to-provider and public health data sharing on a similar level, and it will not be surprising to see more like-minded API initiatives in the future.

Decoding API Meaningful Use Stage 3 requirements:

  • APIs must allow patient access to data categories found in CCDs (electronic summary of care document) using the application of their choice.
  • Information must be returned meaningfully, using required data standards in computable format.
  • APIs must be open and transparent, and publish access instructions, documentation, and terms of use online and on the ONC website.
  • The ONC has not yet set standards and security measures, but have indicated they intend to require FHIR and OATH2.
  • Requirements for APIs are mostly read access. The HIPAA Privacy rule requires proof of signature. The ONC’s future goal is to encourage bi-directional interoperability.

Read the full White Paper-

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API Primer The API resource for healthcare providers

APIs in Healthcare

What healthcare providers should know about APIs

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Resource to healthcare providers and technology staff to learn more about APIs, covering topics such as API strategy and current market utilization.

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