VA offers API access to 3 types of patient data

The Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a website Dec. 7 detailing how it uses application programming interfaces to encourage innovation at the agency.

The website, which is still under development, outlines how the agency uses APIs — or sets of protocols that help different applications communicate with one another — to allow its partners to connect their programs to VA data. The APIs are based on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, a popular interoperability standards framework used in healthcare known as FHIR.

On the website, developers can request access to the APIs and begin building apps that connect to veterans' data. "We want to empower our partners to build innovative solutions for veterans," the website reads. "So we designed a framework to deliver a modern API development experience and rolled out our first set of standards-based APIs."

Here are three APIs the VA has released to developers:

1. VA Benefits API, to enable developers to build tools that help veterans electronically manage, submit, track and receive notifications related to their claims

2. VA Facilities API, to provide developers information on VA facilities, such as contact information, location, hours of operation, available services, appointment wait times and patient satisfaction

3. VA Health API, to help developers build tools that support veterans in managing their health, viewing their medical records, scheduling an appointment, finding a specialty facility and securely sharing their information with caregivers and providers

The VA plans to release a VA Veteran Verification API soon, which will allow developers to build tools that help patients verify their veteran status electronically on job sites, e-commerce sites and third-party benefit sites.

To access the VA's website for its API platform, click here.

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