Application programming interfaces can help patients control and make decisions about distributing their EHRs, according to ONC Presidential Innovation Fellow Gajen Sunthara.
Sunthara wrote in a blog post APIs could be used to build personal health records that patients could share and donate.
The APIs help put patients at the center of their healthcare, he wrote.
It's no secret many patients are frustrated by the electronic portals provided to them by their healthcare providers. They can be hard to use, harder to access and of limited usefulness. They also don't use the same standardized data sets -- which is where APIs could help, Sunthara wrote.
As part of his fellowship, Sunthara created a prototype personal health record that used data obtained from APIs. He also built a server that takes the data and transforms it into the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources format, an open standard.
Sunthara also has released the source code for the server to the public.