The challenge facing health care professionals who seek to better gather and share information isn't a lack of tools; it's an inability of many of the tools to talk to one another.

That's one of the major takeaways from a panel on health care APIs, or application program interfaces. As the industry has gravitated nearly completely to electronic health records (EHRs), the next challenge is to make sense of all the data that's being collected and stored. Experts convened in Austin, Texas, to attempt to bring some order to the sprawling world of technologies developed for the industry.

As reported by Extreme Tech, panelists said that private industry has been rolling out equipment that measures, monitors, analyzes, and otherwise collects and manipulates health information. But because of the way private industry works, a key piece — APIs — has been left out. Thus data tech that should be linked to other devices operates in a vacuum, depriving the industry of the synergies of efficient information coordination.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.