How Chile’s IT Architecture is Transforming its Healthcare

Not long ago, more than 1,000 remote medical facilities in Chile lacked connectivity and many of its healthcare systems could not easily interoperate. To change this, Soledad Munoz Lopez, the CIO of Chile’s Ministry of Health (MINSAL), developed a new approach to IT architecture.

Ms. Lopez implemented an API-based architecture. The API architecture dovetails into a variety of MINSAL’s healthcare efforts, including a national program to connect unconnected healthcare centres; a plan to digitize all clinic and administrative processes, both for major hospitals and local clinics and primary care centres; strategies to better leverage data and connectivity for public alerts, population health management programs, and the Public Health Surveillance initiatives required for planning and execution of public health policy; and the use of new secure national identity and biometrics services.

One of the primary areas of concern addressed by the new digital architecture is integration. The API-first approach abstracts any back-end complexity into predictable, consistent interfaces that allow developers to quickly and efficiently connect data, services, and apps across the nationwide system. Resulting in a more seamless experience for doctors and patients and a secure but agile infrastructure for MINSAL. Ms. Lopez explains that all of these connectivity efforts help enable important new services and exciting innovations that benefit Chilean citizens, including telemedicine. The API platform helps professionals in the entire network of healthcare systems in Chile access patient information throughout the care cycle, reducing costs through shared information, eliminated delays, and reduced duplication of medical tests. The platform also provides information to apps and websites used by patients, allowing them to see and gradually empower themselves with their own health data.

MINSAL has introduced hackathons, which are designed to encourage software developers, start-ups, and other institutions to take the capabilities of MINSAL APIs in innovative new directions and combine them with APIs from other government agencies and services providers. The result should be new apps and services that combine healthcare data in novel ways. MINSAL leaders are eager to integrate awareness about wellness and nutritional information into citizens’ daily routines, a goal that third-party apps are better equipped to fulfil than print and other traditional approaches.

Already a leader in Latin American healthcare, Chile is now poised, with its API-based architecture and detailed vision for rapid improvement, to maintain its excellence and provide a model for using technology to improve the lives of millions or people.

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