If the proposed Stage 3 Meaningful Use rule is finalized in its current form, application programming interfaces (APIs) could supplant portals as the preferred method adopted by providers to enable patients to “view, download and transmit” their health information.

“APIs may be enabled by a provider to provide the patient with access to their health information through a third-party application with more flexibility than often found in many current patient portals,” states the proposed rule. “From the provider perspective, using this option would mean the provider would not be required to separately purchase or implement a patient portal, nor would they need to implement or purchase a separate mechanism to provide the secure download and transmit functions for their patients because the API would provide the patient the ability to download or transmit their health information to a third party.”

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