February 28, 2022

Why Ash Wellness is Building our Own Lab Testing API

Nick Sempere

Nick Sempere co-launched Ash Wellness in 2019 as our VP of Engineering. We sat down with Nick to learn more about why Ash Wellness is building our own API.  

What does API stand for?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. 

What is an API?

An API is an automated set of rules and conventions that allow a set of computer systems to interact with one another. 

What are the limits of traditional healthcare APIs?

First, most labs use their own individual APIs. Businesses have to integrate with each lab testing API to onboard testing services. Direct to consumer companies and healthcare systems need to integrate with multiple lab APIs in order to offer a wide range of testing services. Ash Wellness, on the other hand, coordinates with multiple lab APIs. This allows us to provide over a hundred diagnostic tests to our partners without the hassle of multiple integrations. 

Second, healthcare APIs don’t usually scale well. There is a bottleneck for companies or healthcare systems that want to expand. Individual labs have small APIs, which can’t push that much volume. Not ideal for large-scale systems integration. They still need manual intervention. Which brings me to…

Most healthcare APIs aren’t automatic. They still require human interaction — a lab tech or an end-user — to input data. It’s very difficult for a layperson to interact with a lab testing API, and technicians are busy with other tasks. If an API is automated, it can operate without human input. 

Why do labs have mediocre APIs?

It’s not their fault! Labs are set up to interact with the current healthcare ecosystem, which happens to not be super supportive of telemedicine services like at-home diagnostic testing. This is why Ash Wellness is so valuable. We take care of the lab testing API so that labs can focus on what they do best — contributing to the healthcare ecosystem. 

How is Ash Wellness building our own API?

Ash Wellness is building an API to act as a layer over all other API infrastructure. Our API is rapidly scalable, soon to be fully automated, and allows us to offer more diagnostic tests to our partners than a single lab. Our lab testing API integrates directly with EHRs, so medical providers can select at-home diagnostic testing via a drop-down link. It’s super easy to use, and doesn’t disrupt physician care flows. 

With direct to consumer companies, our systems are designed to integrate seamlessly with modern infrastructure. We set up the API so that customers can log in and request tests themselves, which are confirmed by our physician of record services. 

What are the challenges of building an API infrastructure? 

We have to be able to go through all the individual lab API processes with our own API. This work can be a little tedious to do, but we’re doing it! 

How will this improve at-home diagnostic testing for our partners?

We erase the bottleneck problem for everyone. We’re able to offer a lot more granularity and more rapid testing, so it’s easy to get off the ground with over a hundred self-testing options. Direct to consumer companies, in particular, usually require a huge lift to start. We do that lift for them. With hospitals and clinics, it allows us to transition to at-home diagnostic testing at the pace that works for them. Does PrEP testing work? Does STI testing work? They can start small and then scale.

Book a time with us to discuss how to launch at-home diagnostic testing for your business or healthcare organization.  

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