The wonderful things that come from a health system API : #activetransportation

This very simple web app solves a problem that I complained to Michael Schade about in preparation for our very successful Transportation Techies Transportation + Health Meetup – which is: There’s no way Center for Total Health (@KPTotalHeath) map with active transportation options (namely Capital Bikeshare @Bikeshare) superimposed on it. And voila, he created one:

He titled the app “KP Explorer” and what it does is use the Kaiser Permanente Interchange API, which has description and location information for every facility in the Kaiser Permanente health system. This is crucial, because it allows us (him) to mash-up our location information with any other mashups he’s made, including one with Capital Bikeshare. Without the Kaiser Permanente API, there would be no way to dynamically plot this information.

Michael has written a detailed blog post about how he makes the magic happen: Checking in with Kaiser Permanente’s API

Promoting Active Transportation

If you go to most health care system web sites, you’ll see a link to “driving directions,” which sends the wrong message about health. Instead, there should be walking directions and/or active transportation directions, to support a health system design that is about health in every interaction. In cities where there are modern transportation options like bike sharing, these should be offered as choices. (Of course, at Kaiser Permanente, virtual care is also the norm, potentially avoiding a trip altogether).

This is especially important if you think about the fact that in England, 5% of the car journeys are related to the National Health Service – this increases traffic congestion as well as carbon emissions.

One can imagine (okay, I can), connecting this data to other databases, such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Location database, which would allow a health system to go beyond giving better directions, and actually assess and plan in advance of building to promote active transportation use in the community (see: Active Transportation , Health, Open Data, and Techies – #TechiesDCHealth Meetup – March 6 2014 | Ted Eytan, MD)

The Kaiser Permanente Interchange API

The Interchange API was released in June, 2013, and marks a milestone in the era of information exchange in health care.

As you can see below, we had a ton of fun working with it last summer at the Center for Total Health (Photo Friday: What Innovation in your DNA looks like | Ted Eytan, MD) – in true total health spirit, we went far beyond thinking of this as a technology innovation and quickly toward a health innovation. #PreventionisthenewHIT

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