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3 Tech Things That Irk Me

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, November 5, 2013

Destructive APIs, a lack of interoperability standards—and their glacial pace—and Twitter are a few of the tech irritants on Scott Mace's mind this week.

This week, I've worked up a mini-rant about some of the most maddening things about information technology, in a healthcare context, of course.

1. APIs work great, until they break
Epic recently announced an application program interface (API) for its EHR software. Details remain sketchy, but I can guarantee one thing: Somewhere down the road, for some good reason, Epic will change its API and break a whole bunch of things built on top of the first API.

Don't blame Epic. It's the nature of APIs to change, particularly if the business model of the company publishing them depends on not allowing too much openness with competitors or potential competitors.

That's why we hunger for standards from groups such as HL7 to set the APIs in concrete. But standards are usually the product of vendors jockeying to deny each other any kind of competitive advantage, so they always end up being some kind of least common denominator.

Sorry HL7, but that's why your work, though important, is only the foundation work for much of the interoperability standards work (hopefully) underway at CommonWell Health Alliance and elsewhere.

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