What is Azure Healthcare APIs (preview)?

Azure Healthcare APIs are a set of managed API services based on open standards and frameworks that enable workflows to improve healthcare and offer scalable and secure healthcare solutions. Using a collection of managed API services and frameworks that are specialised for the healthcare business is crucial and helpful because health data acquired from patients and healthcare consumers might be fragmented across numerous systems, device kinds, and data formats. Gaining insights from health data is one of the largest challenges to sustaining population and personal health and overall wellness awareness. Bringing diverse systems, workflows, and health data together is more critical nowadays. A unified and harmonised strategy for health data access, standardisation, and trend recording would enable the discovery of operational and clinical insights. We can streamline the process of connecting new device apps and enable new research projects. Using Azure Healthcare APIs as a scalable and secure healthcare solution can enable workflows to enhance healthcare through insights gained by bringing protected health information (PHI) datasets together and integrating them end-to-end with tools for machine learning, analytics, and AI.

Azure Healthcare APIs give the following benefits:

  • Make it possible for new workloads to take advantage of PHI by allowing data to be gathered and retrieved in a centralized location in a consistent manner.
  • Bring heterogeneous patient information together and integrate it end-to-end using machine learning, analytics, and artificial intelligence tools to gain new insights.
  • Construct your application on a reputable cloud, and have confidence in how Protected Health Information is maintained, stored, and made available to you. In addition to supporting FHIR, the new Microsoft Azure Healthcare APIs will also support additional healthcare sector data standards, such as DICOM, further enhancing healthcare data interoperability. To allow the expansion and inclusion of different and future healthcare data standards, the business model and infrastructure platform have been updated. Customers can use a variety of various types of health data across a range of healthcare standards while still remaining within the same regulatory framework. The managed service includes tools that enable clients to convert data from legacy or device proprietary formats to FHIR. These tools are available to all customers. Some of these tools have already been built and released as open-source; others will be completely new.

The Azure Healthcare APIs allow you to do the following:

  • In a matter of minutes, connect and standardize various health data sources and formats, such as structured, imaging, and device data, so that it can be stored in the cloud.

  • Import data into FHIR once it has been transformed. For example, you can convert health data from legacy forms such as HL7v2 or CDA to FHIR, or you can convert high-frequency IoT data from device proprietary formats to FHIR using a transformation tool.

  • To gain fresh insights through analytics and machine learning, connect your data stored in healthcare APIs with services across the Azure ecosystem (like Synapse) and products across Microsoft (like Teams), as well as with SMART on FHIR applications (for connectivity to SMART on FHIR applications).

  • Managing sophisticated workloads with enterprise features that provide dependability, scalability, and security helps to ensure that your data is safeguarded and that your organization satisfies the privacy and compliance certifications required by the healthcare industry.

What are the key differences between Azure Healthcare APIs and Azure API for FHIR?

Linked Services

In order to facilitate the transmission of structured data, the Azure Healthcare APIs now support a number of different health data standards. Using a single collection of Azure Healthcare APIs, you may deploy numerous instances of distinct service types (FHIR Service, DICOM Service, and IoT Connector) that all communicate with one another effortlessly.

Introducing DICOM Service

The Azure Healthcare APIs now provide support for DICOM services, which was previously unavailable. Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) allows for the secure sharing of picture data and associated metadata. A medical imaging standard, DICOM is an international standard that is used for the transmission of medical imaging information, as well as for storing, retrieving, printing, processing, and displaying it. It is the primary medical imaging standard that is widely accepted throughout the healthcare industry. For additional information about the DICOM Service, please visit their website.

Incremental changes to the FHIR Service

The Healthcare APIs provide a few additional features that are not accessible in the Azure API for FHIR that are necessary for the secure exchange of FHIR information.

  • Support for Transaction Bundles: The FHIR service provides support for transaction bundles in healthcare APIs. For additional information about transaction bundles, go to HL7.org and look for batch/transaction interactions for more details.
  • Improvements to Chained Search: Chained Search and Reserved Chained Search are no longer restricted to a maximum of 100 items per sub query.