Launching Webhook Event Notifications

Event notifications (or webhooks) are now part of Particle's core API. We can send you a notification once a query is done, so you don't need to keep checking.

Try keeping track of one patient's record request. Easy, right? You'll remember not to give up until those records come through. But scale up to tens of thousands of patients at once, and keeping track gets tricky, even for a machine.

One approach is to ask the source over and over again. We're not tired of you asking us - no, really - but there is a better way! We think someone should tell you when records arrive.

We're proud to announce that event notifications (aka webhooks) are now part of our core API. Instead of repeatedly checking the status of an operation like a FHIR data query, Particle can send you a proactive notification once the query is complete.

Why Are Event Notifications Helpful?

If you make queries on behalf of hundreds or thousands of patients, you’re saving all of these queries to a list. Then you’re manually checking on your end if those queries complete.

If they’re not complete then you’re asking Particle what the status is, and you keep asking over and over again, feeling like a five year old on the drive to Disney World each time. Are we there yet?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with doing this this way, but presumably the clunkiness of this approach is self-evident. Over time, sending individual requests becomes very difficult to scale this with your patient population.

The alternative is to build around webhook event notifications instead. With webhooks, you can make a query and put it out of your (and your system’s) mind. Pour yourself a cup of tea. Particle will send you a notification when your data is ready, and your system will make a subsequent request to retrieve the data at your leisure. 

Webhooks at Particle

During initial setup, you’ll give Particle an address and say “for all of my queries, send the status and the query_id to this address”. This address is called a webhook.

The next time you complete a query, Particle will send a message to your webhook. You see the message and knowing results are ready, will send Particle a request for patient data.  

We have a thorough webhooks implementation at Particle. Our webhooks are secured via HTTPS, can be verified via header signatures, and delivered as JSON payloads.

The status notification for a completed query looks like this. Success!

Most queries with Particle are synchronous, meaning that they happen immediately. However, some interactions with Particle’s platform are asynchronous. A user will submit a request and, after a variable length of time, Particle will complete the request and have a response for the user. This is most prevalent in our patient query flows when the query completion status is pending and users repeatedly "poll" for the status of a query.

Notifications change this relationship. Instead of checking the status of an operation like a FHIR data query, Particle will send a proactive notification to you once the status has changed (for example: FHIR query complete).

Try Webhooks Now

At Particle, we’re making healthcare data accessible in a modern API. We want you to use webhooks. You can! 

Webhook functionality is live right now. There’s no additional cost to use them.

Particle customers can contact the support team for details around registering their webhook destination.