June 17, 2021

Why Are Healthcare APIs Important?


Healthcare APIs (application programming interfaces) are critical in today’s marketplace. And they’re being adopted at an increasingly rapid pace.


A primary driver is the need to integrate Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to simplify data accessibility. According to Grand View Research, 30% of market revenue is tied solely to EHR APIs.

Yet, EHRs are just a small part of the overall healthcare API landscape. APIs are helping to streamline remote patient monitoring, appointment booking, payments, and consumer wearables integrations. Additionally, APIs enable new workflows between payers and providers. And API security improvements have allowed reluctant healthcare organizations to get in on the action. 

In this blog post, we share everything you need to know about healthcare APIs.

Read along or jump ahead to the section that interests you most:

What Is a Healthcare API?

Application programming interfaces (APIs) connect healthcare applications and create interoperability. This means that internal apps, electronic health records (EHRs), and other data sources can be unified in a single source of truth with a healthcare API

In short, APIs are proxy layers that sit on top of healthcare systems, databases, and applications. These layers allow these applications to be accessed, or repurposed, in other parts of the enterprise.

Healthcare technology is complex. Most health organizations leverage a wide range of applications, databases, ERPs, and software. This technology must accommodate clinics, hospitals, customers, oversight boards, and the broader enterprise. APIs allow greater interoperability between these systems and environments. They also provide a management and analytics layer for managing the entire healthcare digital ecosystem.

There are three general categories of healthcare APIs including internal, external, and third-party APIs.

1. Internal Healthcare APIs

An internal API is built within healthcare organizations to increase interoperability, efficiency, or analytics visibility of applications, services, or digital tools. This may include building APIs on top of homegrown patient-centered apps, local storage servers, or clinic management software.

Healthcare enterprises can simplify the management of their internal IT resources by building APIs across their internal systems. They can then track and manage all systems from a single API management solution. Some healthcare enterprises also develop APIs on internal tools in order to make them available for partner or public consumption.

2. External Healthcare APIs

Often times, a healthcare organization will create APIs for external consumption. These externally-available APIs can be designed for doctors, partners, insurance providers, or application developers. For example, a hospital may offer a symptom checker tool for external consumption in order to improve care outcomes and boost brand recognition.

3. Third-party APIs

Third-party APIs reside outside the digital footprint of an organization. These publicly available APIs are often consumed by healthcare companies to improve their digital offerings for patients or providers. For example, it is common for health insurance companies to consume Fitbit, Samsung Health, or Google Fit APIs so customers can sync their fitness activity with their insurance account to redeem discounts or rewards.

Why Are APIs Important in Healthcare?

APIs are important in healthcare because they make it easier for patients and providers to get and share information. Patients can access their electronic health records (EHRs). And providers can share EHRs with other providers securely and efficiently.

APIs are important because they allow healthcare companies to securely combine application functionality, services, and data sources rapidly. Interoperability has been identified as a major goal for the healthcare industry. Which is why FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) and FHIR APIs are also critical. When compared to updating monolithic applications, the API management approach is far superior.


Healthcare organizations combine a broad range of systems, databases, ERPs, and software. Due to this fact Without appropriate IT management things get messy fast. In addition, healthcare companies deal with sensitive consumer health data, which is heavily regulated. This poses major security and interoperability challenges. Historically, this has stifled innovation in healthcare.

Not anymore.

APIs allow healthcare organizations to embrace digital transformation. And APIs have delivered digital patient experiences that consumers have come to expect in their everyday lives. Even a few years ago, simply viewing a chart on a mobile device may not have been possible. Likewise, asking a provider to forward a digital chart or test result to a specialist might have posed security risks.

APIs allow insurance providers, healthcare companies, and HealthTech startups to create relevant customer-centric experiences. With APIs companies can stitch services and features together without the need to migrate the entire program or database.  

Foundations For a Digital Ecosystem

APIs enable digital ecosystems in industries like banking, insurance, and healthcare. Find out how to build the foundation you need to drive your business forward.


Benefits of APIs in the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare APIs are helping organizations to create better customer experiences, but they are also creating major interoperability gains. They do this by connecting disparate applications with APIs through a proxy layer.

There are dozens of benefits with healthcare APIs. Here are some of the top benefits.


Unified API platforms provide security standards and features that improve digital ecosystem security at healthcare organizations. In turn, this allows for more rapid connectivity between EHRs and other platforms. This helps EHR platforms avoid siloing their data in closed infrastructures and encourages seamless data integration with third parties. 

Unified EHRs

APIs allow providers to access applications and data in EHRs in new and innovative ways. And APIs allow healthcare providers to share patient information with other providers securely and quickly.

Information Sharing

Patients can use APIs to electronically share diagnostic information with doctors or clinics in real time. While not all providers offer these features, sharing blood pressure readings, blood sugar levels, and other health data from patient devices is likely to be common practice in the coming years.

Patients can also connect to APIs to gather and share health information via healthcare patient portals.

Best Healthcare APIs

Here are some healthcare APIs to have on your radar.

Healthcare API

What It Does


FHIR is a set of standards for health care data exchange and is published and managed by HL7®. This API allows healthcare providers, app developers, and insurance organizations to improve interoperability in a standardized fashion.


US Doctors and Medical Professionals

This database offers a comprehensive list of US doctors and medical professionals, providing access to a searchable database that can be added to applications, systems, and provider networks. 


Fitbit provides a web API for accessing data from Fitbit activity trackers, Aria scale, and manually entered logs. Anyone can develop an application to access and modify a Fitbit user's data on their behalf, so long as it complies with Fitbit’s terms of service.



The DrugPatentWatch platform offers deep analytics on pharmaceutical drugs, the patents that protect them in 130+ countries, updates on clinical trials, patent applications, and more.

This API enables access to educational content about the Health Insurance Marketplace® in a machine-readable format. This allows innovators, entrepreneurs, and partners to leverage this info in new products and services.


Edamam Nutrition Analysis

This API grants third parties access to the Edamam app. This app allows users to submit full text recipes or ingredient lists to extract full nutrition and ingredient data from the text.

Advanced MD

This API comprises a wide range of healthcare provision services. The system is used by individual doctors and large groups of several providers. The AdvancedMD API includes over 40 templates for mental health, behavioral health, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation.



This API enables access to Allscripts healthcare information technology and solutions that advance clinical, financial and operational results for more than 2,500 hospitals, 24,000 Physician Practices, and 20 million connected consumers.


Drive Transformation With Healthcare APIs

The best way to drive digital transformation for healthcare APIs is to use an enterprise API platform, like Akana.

Akana provides the easiest way to accelerate digital transformation in the enterprise.

With Akana, you can:

  • Accelerate time-to-market by deploying healthcare APIs faster.
  • Ensure powerful security at scale to protect your critical healthcare applications and patient data.
  • Gain a true partner in your transformation strategy. 

That's because the Akana API platform includes:

  • An integrated out-of-the-box API portal and marketplace.
  • An API gateway that allows you to apply security policies in a click.
  • In-depth API analytics, so you can insight into your APIs.

See for yourself what sets the Akana API platform apart. Watch the on-demand demo.

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