Mana Health provides APIs among both cloud and portal solutions on its quest to enable physicians to diagnose more efficiently. We were thus interested in interviewing Mana Health about its services and products, and the company’s thoughts on the value of APIs in healthcare.

What is Mana Health?

Mana Health is focused on making data flow in healthcare by solving some of the most challenging issues around interoperability, security, permissioning, unification and API access.

What services and products does ManaHealth provide?

Our main product is ManaCloud, an operating system for healthcare services. Through our next generation technology stack and turn-key APIs, we allow rapid development and deployment of advanced healthcare applications on top of existing legacy data-sources as well as new emerging data sets including fitness devices, clinical devices, the internet of things and more.

Which health sectors are you targeting?

As a connector of data streams, we target the touch-points (old and emerging) of a large variety of traditional sectors within healthcare. As value-based care continues to take hold, more and more stakeholder need access to a unified, multi-modal, longitudinal and EMR-agnostic view of their patient population. These stakeholders include large health systems that are integrating their ambulatory systems with their in-patient systems, ACOs, self-insured providers and many many others.

How can health APIs improve development in the healthcare sector?

A fundamental property of APIs is that they allow a developer to  build on top of previously created code, without needing to know exactly how that code works. For healthcare this means that once the data extraction problem is solved once, nobody else needs to waste time reinventing that wheel. Instead, they connect to an API that gives them well formatted, predictable data easily. This is a massive change from the current status quo, where each EMR connection can take months of time and thousands of dollars to complete.  By removing the need to focus on solving a data problem, which is not a valuable differentiator for the application, but simply a requisite hurdle, the development team can spend their precious dev cycles creating truly valuable features that use that data.

Should health APIs be open sourced? Why?

Open-sourcing software can have many advantages, including leveraging a global workforce of developers who add to and improve the code in often novel and unforeseen ways. This leads to an increase in innovation for the software as well as for the community. When it comes to APIs open-sourcing is a bit of a tangential approach. This is because the purpose of APIs is to allow sharing and use of software without needing to open-source it. There may still be advantages to having the larger community improving the software that is exposing the API but overall the goal is to focus attention away from the old code and into novel uses of the output. These two paths can live side-by side and augment each other but are slightly different approaches to software sharing and access.

Where do you see health API usage in the coming 5-years? 

In 2011 Marc Andreessen famously wrote that software is eating the world. 5 years later it’s clear that he was absolutely right. We see software pervading every part of our lives. We are now in the era of APIs, where all this software is queryable, networked and built up into increasingly elegant and complex interwoven structures. In the next 5 years, we are going to see the emergence of machine intelligence linking all these components to truly remarkable (and somewhat unpredictable) effect. In healthcare this will mean more innovation, faster deployment and, hopefully, better medicine and improved lives.

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