Mitchell Devenport

Tech Talk: What is the Particle Health API?

December 17, 2020

Particle Health offers two distinct APIs: C-CDA and FHIR. They both offer the same level of unparalleled access to patient health data, but they differ significantly in how they offer access to that data. Let’s dig into Part 3 of our three part miniseries on APIs.

And here we are: the final section of our three-part series on APIs. In Part 1, we covered What is an API, and Part 2 was all about why you should choose an API as a service. Now we’re going to dig into Particle Health’s API.

At Particle Health we actually offer two distinct APIs: C-CDA and FHIR. They both offer the same level of unparalleled access to patient health data, but they differ significantly in how they offer access to that data and empower our users to work with that data.

To use the C-CDA API, you would make a request to our servers containing the demographics of a patient that you are interested in obtaining data for. The API is defined such that the Particle Health servers will then respond with the full set of health data for that patient in a C-CDA format. That’s it, it’s an amazingly simple and quick way to retrieve all the data you’re interested in with one sweep.

The FHIR API is similar in concept, you would send a request to the Particle Health servers with the same demographic information as the C-CDA API. We retrieve that patient’s health data, process it, and expose it in an FHIR R4 format. Unlike C-CDA, FHIR specifies some really powerful ways that you can work with this data. You could pull it all in one go, much like the C-CDA API, or you could retrieve just the segments of data that matter to you. Just want to see a patient’s social history? FHIR can do that. Only care about medications prescribed between July and September? You can do that with FHIR. Want to see new Observations since the last time you saw a patient? Guess what, you can do that with FHIR!

We’re really proud of the APIs we’ve built at Particle Health, not just because of the access to health data that they provide, but because of just how easy it is to obtain and work with that data.

How does the Particle Health API work?

When you send a request with the demographics of a patient to our servers, the Particle Health systems immediately get to work. We use a proprietary algorithm to determine where that patient has data throughout over 33,000 data sources located all across the United States. We then take the necessary steps to obtain each of those documents that we find and provide them all to you in a single location. If you’re using the FHIR API, we run each of those documents through a data processing pipeline that transforms each document into the powerful FHIR format. It’s all pretty awesome!

Conclusion: 

We’ve covered what an API is and what it does. We also talked about Particle Health’s APIs. There’s much more we can discuss, but why not take a look at our use cases here, or try Particle here

And if you have questions—we have answers. Just contact us here