Google Updates API for Patient Access to Personal COVID-19 Data

Google has updated its Passes application programming interface (API) to provide patients access to personal COVID-19 data, like vaccination and testing information.

Google has updated its Passes application programming interface (API) to provide patients with a secure way to store, access, and share COVID-19 vaccination and testing data on Android devices.

Organizations authorized by public health authorities to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and/or tests, including healthcare organizations and government agencies, can implement Google’s new API update to promote patient access to personal health data through a digital COVID Card that can store vaccination and testing information.

Once a patient stores the digital version of her COVID Card to her Android device, she can access it through a shortcut on her device’s home screen. This allows patients to access their personal health data even when they are offline or in an area with weak internet service.

Google designed the COVID Card to ensure patient health data security and privacy, representatives noted in a press release.

Users must have a lock screen to store a COVID Card on their device. For security purposes, each time a patient wants to access her COVID Card, she will be asked for the password, pin, or biometric method set up for her Android device.

If a patient wants to access her personal health information on multiple devices, she will need to manually store it on each device. Google does not retain a copy of the user’s COVID-19 vaccination or testing information.

Users may also share their COVID Card with others. The information in the user’s COVID Card is not shared by Google with its various services or third parties, nor is it used for targeting ads, representatives noted.

To use this feature, patient devices must run Android 5 or later and be Play Protect certified.

The API update will first roll out in the United States followed by other countries. Qualified providers can sign up here.

Recent data from the Engine Group commissioned by Change Healthcare found that only 24 percent of healthcare companies currently utilize APIs at scale.

Despite low utilization, the researchers found that most healthcare stakeholders predict Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) APIs will be used widely by 2024.

More than 50 percent of providers across the 400 surveyed stakeholders said they are consuming and producing APIs at scale. Payers lag behind, with 43 percent saying they consume and 37 percent build APIs. However, 67 percent of providers and 61 percent of payers expect their respective organizations to utilize APIs at scale by 2023.

Furthermore, over half of the organizations and more than two-thirds of providers expect “fully mature” API use as consumers. All three stakeholder groups also expect APIs to “become the glue that binds healthcare together,” the study authors wrote.

Dig Deeper on Clinical documentation

Cloud Computing
Mobile Computing