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Wand and Beyond: Open Healthcare Apps to Thrive in 2013

2012 was an awesome year. We released 3 versions of Allscripts Wand™ application for the iPad®. Wand 1.1 turns Wand from a roaming nurse product into a physician one (Clinical Documentation, Orders & Charge). More than 500,000 patients have been touched by a healthcare provider using Wand. Not bad for a product that’s just over 6 months old.

Let’s look at Wand as an example application – we used our open API (Application Programming Interface) to build Wand. Yes, we eat our own dog food. Every screen, every field – everything you can see on an iPad – is available in our open API. (an API is like a command language – Sit, Stay, Roll Over… fetch the Doc’s schedule)

In 2012 we built Wand and the open API that made that magic all happen. And a few of our partners also delivered in 2012 – such as Shareable InkApixio and Medflow.

Fostering better healthcare with open apps

To really encourage the development of a third-party development community, we announced the Open App Challenge. We will give away a top prize of $250K to a third-party developer that uses our open API to build something that really changes healthcare. (You can register at Health2.0.)

So far 135 companies have entered our contest! To help them learn our Open APIs we’ve held monthly classes and are working with them very closely. While some companies will sue you if you try to build an add-on product, we take the opposite approach; We teach you how to work with our products.

But 135 companies – that’s amazing. More companies are building 2 or 3 apps than those building only 1.

I don’t want to get into details about some of the applications coming down the pike – but there was one company with expertise in pharmacogenetics that’s well on its way to building a product that just snaps in to our EHRs. That starts to really bring personalized medicine into the main stream.

There are task and automated event handlers that teach it the “policy.” It applies that policy and saves the physician 15-30 minutes a day by acting like a super-smart assistant. Other companies are building special addiction treatment extensions to our products.

There’s really a lot going on – companies with great ideas, terrific ingenuity and awesome expertise. Some apps are very specialized, others I think will appeal to everyone. They’re building great tools – from small widgets to complete applications – to attach to our EHRs.

So what happens with our open API in 2013?

By ACE this year (August), we will have lots of applications that use the same open API that Wand uses and fit right in to our EHRs. Imagine a catalog of approved applications that do special, wonderful things that all play well together?

What open means to me is that Healthcare IT really is a team sport. By actively including the wild creativity and ingenuity out there in the geek community, that we have a chance to add up everyone’s IQs, and deliver on the 4 wins:

•           Patients get better healthcare

•           Caregivers have an easier time

•           Our robust third-party community thrives

•           And of course Allscripts wins by leading in the new frontier – Open

In the spirit of open, what ideas would you share with our third-party community?

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