What is an API?

Application Programming Interface (API)

Jennifer avatar
Written by Jennifer
Updated over a week ago

Application program interfaces (APIs) are messengers or translators that work behind the scenes to help software programs communicate with one another. If you have ever used a web-based application or a mobile “app” on your computer, smartphone, or tablet to pay a bill or purchase a flight, you’ve probably used an API. 

How do APIs help you get your records?

Think about searching for a flight. Before APIs, people had to visit various airlines’ websites to compare prices. Now, there are travel search programs that centralize airline flight information. How do they do this? By using APIs.

APIs in healthcare are already doing the same thing – for example, OneRecord uses APIs to communicate with hospitals and doctor's offices' computer systems so it can add your medical records to your Health Records Overview.

How is this possible?

Certified electronic health records systems are required to provide APIs for patients to access their medical records through apps like OneRecord. Just as you can log into your patient portal, now you can also connect to an API through OneRecord to gather and share your health information.

You can read more about this in our "Connect your patient portal" article.

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