In an industry as interactive and consumer-driven as healthcare, it would only make sense that technology would begin to break down the barriers between patients and doctors, consumers and ACO’s. Yet, the industry has been slow to act and sluggish in implementing new and prevailing technologies to increase patients’ accessibility to information. However, finally, it would seem the private sector is taking things into their own hands, facilitated in part by recent government regulations. By developing various apps and properly utilizing the technology available to us in the 21st century, these vying entrepreneurs and various commercial enterprises are incentivizing the use of electronic health records, data availability, and cross-system collaboration, thus foreshadowing a greater technological presence in the healthcare industry at large.

APIs (application programming interfaces) are some of the most notable advancements of late. With the spectacular growth of electronic health records in recent years, developers are more inclined to make greater use of these APIs given their more intuitive access to digital information. This greater use of APIs means greater use of cloud computing and mobile technology, which is fantastic news for patients across the world. By providing digital access to this vital information, healthcare providers and doctors will be able to tremendously increase care coordination. While, of course, there are still many challenges (like interoperability, for instance), this increased inclination to make use of technology is a step in the right direction to say the least.

To elaborate, by making data more accessible through APIs and cross-platform collaboration, both the care provider and the patient will be better able to view integral and relevant information without wasting time on counterintuitive clumsy software. This means greater communication, greater care coordination, greater feedback, and greater decision support for both the patient and provider.

As a patient, picture the ability to pull up your record on your smartphone anywhere in the world. Imagine the possibility of viewing the same information as your doctor in real time. While, as can probably be imagined, patients may not immediately understand the data before them, such data will at the very least place both patients and providers on the same page. It will allow doctors to provide greater resources to patients. It will breed more informative forums and more specific online communities for individuals looking for feedback. Truly, this increased presence of technology holds limitless possibility for the future of the industry.

At a time of value-based payment, patient engagement is more important than ever; and with technology greater than ever, there is no reason patients shouldn’t be receiving the best care available.