One of the most challenging aspects of modern medicine is managing the care of the chronically ill. In 2010, according to the US Centers for Disease Control, 86 percent of all healthcare spending in the US went towards conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and obesity; cancer care alone cost $157 billion. The costs come when these conditions manifest themselves in crises which require expensive hospital stays and costly medication. It would be cheaper and easier to manage these conditions on an ongoing basis, so medical professionals could detect and solve problems before they became serious events. This could pre-empt a doctor’s visit or a hospital stay, saving time and money for the patient and the insurance company.
This is where APIs provide so much promise for healthcare. The University of Texas – a MuleSoft customer, by the way – has come up with a novel solution to continuous health monitoring; instead of having to wear a band or watch, their engineering department has improved the manufacturing process for a flexible, microthin wearable patch – like a temporary tattoo – that someone could wear on their skin to continuously monitor their health statistics. This new process could make these electronic patches incredibly cheap and easy to use, and they will be connected to patients’ healthcare records via an API.
APIs could revolutionize how medical professionals connect with their patients, partners, and colleagues; they have already shown a great deal of promise in healthcare settings. One particularly interesting use of APIs is CareWeb Messenger, an innovative approach to collaboration for medical staff at the University of California, San Francisco. This communications solution for UCSF’s medical professionals uses the Salesforce 1 platform to enable communication between UCSF Medical Center staff and MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform, seamlessly connecting on-premise, cloud and mobile applications in a highly available and HIPAA-compliant environment. Prior to CareWeb Messenger, UCSF staff were using pagers to communicate with one another; this solution allows for staff to collaborate using mobile devices and cloud-based SaaS applications, lowering costs and improving medical outcomes.
McKinsey has argued that we are on the cusp of a big-data revolution in healthcare, one that could not only change the patient’s relationship with their doctors, but could accelerate value and innovation as well. Technology has the potential to make our relationship with medical professionals easier, more pleasant, and less of a financial burden.
If you’re interested in more about how APIs could impact healthcare, check out this webinar on APIs and the healthcare industry or our whitepaper on the Connected Hospital. Technology has already made huge strides in healthcare – if APIs could deepen the relationship and build trust between patients and their medical professionals, it could make a big difference in managing difficult chronic conditions.