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Singapore’s IHiS taps Google Cloud for API management

Integrated Health Information Systems is using Google’s Apigee API management platform to provide access to data and applications across Singapore’s public healthcare system

Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) is tapping Google Cloud’s Apigee platform to provide access to data, applications and services across Singapore’s public healthcare system via application programming interfaces (APIs) in a multiyear deal.

Through the APIs, IHiS, formed from the IT departments of Singapore’s public healthcare clusters in 2008, said it would be able to eliminate data silos and achieve interoperability to enable developers to create new applications and capabilities, such as optimising staff allocation and workloads.

For example, IHiS and SingHealth, one of the city-state’s three public healthcare clusters, have developed an automated visitor management system using a framework from Apigee to speed up software development and reduce the need for maintenance. 

“Connectivity and the secured sharing of health data are key enablers of better healthcare for Singaporeans. Apigee provides IHiS with a flexible API-based architecture that serves as the connective tissue across data sources and applications,” said Alan Goh, assistant chief executive of IHiS.

Goh noted that with Apigee, IHiS can scale its API programme with internal developers to deliver more high-quality and digital-first healthcare experiences.

“Together with Google Cloud and Accenture, we can extend secure API gateway access to trusted third-party developers, giving patients easier access to their health information and offering deeper insights to inform population health management programmes and public health policies,” he said.

In future, Goh said IHiS would also explore the feasibility of adopting commercial cloud API gateways to widen its coverage and promote innovation across Singapore’s healthcare ecosystem.

While APIs allow systems to exchange information within and across organisational boundaries, reducing the need for duplicated datasets that take up storage space, the APIs must also be secure to mitigate data security risks.

Besides giving IHiS full visibility over the use of its APIs by validating data flows and ensuring that access is only granted to authorised users, Google Cloud has also built security features such as encryption key verification, identity brokering, traffic monitoring, and threat and vulnerability detection into the Apigee platform.

This will enable IHiS to safeguard patient data and comply with regulations such as Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) and Healthcare Services Act 2020, as well as international standards for exchanging healthcare information electronically, such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), Health Level 7 (HL7), and Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM).

Sherie Ng, country director of Singapore at Google Cloud, said: “A secure-by-design API management platform that standardises data and facilitates information exchange across healthcare systems, services and applications is becoming just as essential as a stethoscope or an X-ray.

“With Apigee empowering API-led connectivity at scale, IT staff and developers can now focus on upcycling data and helping their organisations overcome staffing shortages, improve transitions between inpatient and outpatient care, and advance preventative care and precision medicine.”

Google acquired Apigee in 2016 in a $625m all-cash deal, marking its foray into API management and pitting itself against the likes of Salesforce’s MuleSoft, Boomi and Software AG.

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