Omron Healthcare recently announced that it’s opening up its blood pressure monitors and pedometers to app developers. Specifically, it released an API (Application Program Interface) to connect to their devices in order to use the physiologic data obtained by them. We had the opportunity to ask Ranndy Kellogg, President and CEO of Omron, about what this means for clinicians and medical app developers and how it will influence the way patients care for themselves.
Medgadget: While clinicians are generally well acquainted with Omron’s products, most have a very hazy idea of what an API is and how offering one may improve the care they offer to their patients. Can you give us a summary of what APIs are and what the Omron API in particular offers?
Ranndy Kellogg, Omron Healthcare: Application Program Interfaces, or APIs, are a set of routines, protocols and tools for building software
applications. Essentially, API’s allow different devices and applications to connect with each other, making interactivity possible.
The Omron API provides access to software developers to add Omron device data to their cloud based applications. In essence, it allows data collected by Omron wireless devices to be used in their
The practical effect of opening the Omron API is that heart health data, like blood pressure readings and trends, can be shared with applications that are designed to help manage health.
Medgadget: What kinds of applications do you expect to use this API?
Kellogg: Using the Omron API allows developers to create applications that better present the heart health status of a user. Some examples of applications that might use the Omron API include:
- Fitness apps or wellness dashboards
- Apps that aggregate all types of health data from multiple resources, enabling users to see it all in one place
- Applications used by health care professionals to regularly monitor their patients
- Educational apps that provide guidance on managing blood pressure
- Applications that are able to access Omron device data will likely be able to provide much more insightful health information to end users.
Medgadget: How can a doctor or nurse with a novel idea take advantage of the potential an open API from Omron provides?
Kellogg: Heart disease is the leading cause of death. Health care providers are aware that monitoring and safeguarding heart health in their patients is a priority. We know from the adoption and use of our own Omron Wellness applications that data-sharing with providers can help them create more effective treatment plans. We are actively encouraging ingenuity when it comes to improving healthcare, and know that accurate, reliable heart data is a valuable component of innovations to improve patient care.
Medgadget: Do you expect other companies to open up their devices in this way? How do you expect this move to benefit Omron?
Kellogg: While many fitness and wellness device providers have some form of data sharing available today, we believe adding clinically accurate home blood pressure information to the existing patient record is a strong step towards managing hypertension and promoting better heart health.
Medgadget: Are there any security issues for offering an open API?
Kellogg: Data security is extremely important to Omron. We consistently employ industry best practices for sharing personal health data. Our API is built on OAuth2.0 mechanism that ensures that data is shared only when registered users authorize doing so.
All data is exchanged on secure HTTPS (Secure SSL), and remains secure in Omron’s cloud.
Medgadget: Do you plan on verifying any apps that take advantage of the Omron API to make sure the data is used accurately?
Kellogg: We do not verify the applications of other companies. An end user must give express permission for their data to be shared with any application, and we advise end users to fully understand the policies of any application they wish to use.
Medgadget: What kind of help are you offering developers that plan on using this API?
Kellogg: Once developers register with Omron, they are granted access to API documentation. We continue to enhance our API as we work with different developers and ensure it’s always updated. Developers can also contact the Omron API team with any questions or for clarification.