How NexHealth’s universal API will accelerate innovation in healthcare
By Waleed Asif, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of NexHealth
It’s shocking how difficult it is to access your medical records. Americans will see at least 19 different doctors in their lifetimes, and there is a strong likelihood the medical history of those 19 doctors live in 19 unique health record systems, with no way to unify the data.
At NexHealth, our mission is to accelerate innovation in healthcare. We’re creating a future where a patient’s medical history can be safely traced across those 19 systems to create better experiences and outcomes.
The question I get most is ‘what will developers build on the NexHealth API?’ The true answer–and the best part of my job–is “I don’t know.” It’s impossible to predict what ambitious developers will build years from now. But here are some use cases we believe the NexHealth API will be able to support.
Use Case #1: Transparent Payment Quoting
We’ve all felt the pain of ambiguity in medical costs. Patients don’t know how much their procedure will cost upfront and what their insurance coverage looks like. And offices are forced to waste valuable time verifying insurance coverage when they could be caring for the patient.
NexHealth has been working with healthtech startups looking to change healthcare pricing and payment systems using NexHealth’s API. They’re creating software to provide patients with quotes for their procedures before they occur based on their insurance policy, then collect the payments in-advance with a text.
Without an API to pull all this information from EHRs, companies would need to manually source each patient’s procedure and insurance provider. Our API automates this process and writes back into the health record system when the payment has been collected for the doctor’s records.
Use Case #2: Coordinated Care Between Providers
Doctors need to coordinate care between multiple providers, standard in referrals. This is typically a burdensome process slowed by faxing, emails and calls which patients often have to coordinate directly. A task that is often overwhelming to patients with serious conditions. We’re working with companies to solve this problem by allowing doctors to book referral appointments at the point of care. No longer does the patient have to scroll through a list of referrals, as the doctor can book the follow up appointment before the patient leaves the office.
In the future, the NexHealth API will make it easy to also press a button to transfer the complete health record to the referring provider.
Use Case #3: Machine Learning for Diagnoses
Picture this: a machine learning program listens to a doctor as they speak to their patient. While they’re chatting about a recurring health condition or new development, the smart tool picks up on keywords and phrases pertaining to their condition. It’s also pinging the NexHealth API to review the patient’s medical record at the same time, working to make a diagnosis while they’re talking.
The benefits of machine learning go beyond a listening tool. Smart imaging will play a critical role in the future of healthtech, where software is examining X-rays and analyzing conditions for doctors.
Machine learning is only as effective as the data that is synced into it–and this is where the NexHealth API comes in. By leveraging our API, ML tools can access decades of existing health records (both specific to the patient or anonymized by condition), providing insights doctors need to have higher confidence in a diagnosis.
Use Case #4: Patients Own Their Health Records
Patients reasonably should expect access to their entire medical history. The problem: electronic health records do not easily communicate with each other, and even if they do, they are coded differently, so fields have an impossible time syncing and creating a comprehensive picture.
We see developers in the future creating a universal health record which patients can access by pulling data from the NexHealth API. Patients can then update their health record – imagine importing data from a DNA test – that is then written back into the electronic health record, so each provider has a complete view of the patient’s health.
In this world of empowered patients, they’ll have an app on their phone with their entire medical history, and information where all their data is stored from previous provider interactions.
Use Case #5: Payment Ledger Automation
Transparent quoting is a great start, but a lot more can be accomplished when the NexHealth API is fully integrated with the payment ledger.
NexHealth can automate each patient’s communication, payment options, and collection. Patients can pay for healthcare in the same frictionless, 1-click format they use in the consumer world, a leap forward from mailing checks or logging into patient portals.
Integrating with the payment ledger will provide new flexibility in payment options. Developers building on NexHealth can support doctors in offering alternative payment plans, such as paying in installments or Buy Now, Pay Later services. What’s more, they can break out alternatives for both insured and non-insured patients, giving patients more transparency and payment options based on their pre-existing coverage.
Use Case #6: Tackling Population-health Challenges
Population health looks at health outcomes, patterns of health determinants, and how those two areas intersect. If a pharmacy company wants access to patient data today, they’ll reach out to large health systems, but they miss the majority of patient data which is locked inside SMB and mid-market health care providers.
Using the NexHealth API, Pharma companies could securely search SMB and mid-market patient records, making it easier to find and recruit patients. Easier facilitation of clinical trials would reduce the time and costs of the medical research process. Automation in clinical trial recruitment would make it easier for pharma companies to run trials for rare diseases, where margins are much smaller.
On an even broader scale, unified health data will allow healthcare experts to see population-wide trends earlier and act faster.
How to Get Started with the NexHealth API
These are just a few ways our API will be used. We want to build a healthcare system that’s enabled by a better flow of data between all systems. We want to provide patients and their providers with a full picture of their health and give doctors more tools to diagnose problems.
We’re optimistic for a better future in healthcare and are laying the infrastructure to make that possible. If you’re a developer and you want to build on NexHealth, we’d love to work with you. Schedule a time to connect or get started with free API access here.
CTO and Co-founder