Measure Performance and Value
In previous posts, we shared steps aimed at readying your organization for interoperability. We’ve gone into greater detail on step one here and step two here. Now we are ready to dig further into step three to measure the performance and value of API integrations. Once you’ve optimized APIs in your current system to improve interoperability, it is important to manage this dynamic format. But how do we know if an API is running successfully?
Let’s review some key indicators of successful API performance:
- Successful API performance can be measured by data quality. Good data is a strong signal that your API integrations are performing correctly.
- In-place testing protocols for API systems are necessary for success. The fluid nature of an open format system calls for a measured quality assurance program – one that includes security checks.
- Evaluate your financial metrics. Research indicates that APIs are a successful component in lowering healthcare industry costs. You should see financial results as you push towards total interoperability.
The healthcare industry is poised for innovation. The opportunity and gains that APIs represent to patient-centered and value-driven care cannot be overlooked. But in the gap of innovation and implementation, many of our clients are facing multiple EHR interfaces. With the aforementioned key performance indicators in mind, I’d like to share some best practices with you as they related to managing API integration into existing systems.
How Good is Your Data?
A great way to measure the performance of your APIs is to look for improvements in your collective data. The ONC’s Meaningful Use mandate requires API integration that gives patients access to their health data. Proactive organizations should go a step further, and look at ways they can grow the accessibility of EHRs because this is the future of healthcare. Look to your data to see if you’re obtaining gains in frequency, reliability, and content.
Additionally, being mindful of data accuracy, training staff on data protocols, and promoting awareness of these standards within your institution are all best practices for creating good data.
Error Test Your APIs.
Let’s be honest, it’s exciting to see the potential of APIs unlocked for the healthcare industry. But we also need to assess best practices for API testing, especially as big data makes organizations vulnerable to hacking.
Assertible provides a primer resource on this subject, sourcing information from Google’s Testing Blog. Both Assertible and Google call into attention the usefulness of unit tests in regards to APIs as just one of many ways to scan your system. Testing will also indicate if API formats are more or less finicky than message-based formats.
Regular scanning of systems also allows organizations to stay at the forefront of data security. There’s no doubt that a proactive approach via procedural testing is best practice when it comes to interoperability.
Harness Aggregated Financial Data to Measure Costs Benefits.
One of the exciting benefits of API integration is the reduced time investment and costs for healthcare systems. CFOs can evaluate financial metrics that have been aggregated by a platform like Interoptex to measure if financial value is being actualized. Concerns over costs are both a driver of innovation and a roadblock for healthcare organizations, making it imperative to measure the success of your interoperability efforts.
It’s an exciting time to be on the forefront of healthcare innovation. Harness the benefits of API technology through a measured, value-driven approach. Look for our final post in this series, which will expand on step four titled “Develop Your Long-Term Integration Roadmap”.
Seth Hobgood is CTO at Interoptex.