Department Faculty and Research Highlighted in Recent Report From ONC Workshop on Write-Back APIs

Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE) faculty Ben Orwoll, MD, MS, along with research led by himself and faculty Karen Eden, PhD, were highlighted in a report from a recent academia-industry stakeholder workshop hosted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) focusing on write-back application programming interface (API) functionality using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard. The workshop was organized to gather insights and experiences from leaders and researchers on the topic of writing data into the electronic health record (EHR) and other clinical information systems, with presenters representing perspectives from multiple populations that interact with the health care system. Attendees represented many of the country’s foremost companies, universities, and multiple US federal agencies.

Presentations from members of the ONC including the National Coordinator Micky Tripathi, PhD opened the meeting, and were followed by several presentations from the perspectives of research (Patricia Brennan, PhD, Director, National Library of Medicine), technology (Josh Mandel, MD, Chief Architect, Microsoft Healthcare), Providers (Dr. Orwoll), Patients (Donna Cryer, JD, CEO and President, Global Liver Institute), and FinTech (Markos Zachariadis, PhD, Professor of Financial Technology and Information Systems, University of Manchester). Each presenter highlighted the potential impacts and challenges of write-back API technology on their areas as well as issues for future development and improvement. This was followed by breakout sessions and discussion among the entire group with development of specific use-case examples.

During his presentation on the provider perspective, Dr. Orwoll highlighted his and Dr. Eden’s work on the MammoScreen Breast Cancer Screening App, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) as an example of the complex ways that interoperable health care applications need to interact with the EHR in the course of clinical care. MammoScreen relies on write-back API technology to allow patients to enter data into a breast cancer risk screening application for shared decision making and allows seamless integration of those data into the EHR for later review by clinicians. He also discussed extensions of current write-back technology that will hopefully allow even more and better functionality in the future.