Chances are you have no idea what an application program interface (API) even is. Your organization’s IT staff does know, however, and incorporating an API can ultimately make life easier for transplant professionals like you–the ones that enter and manage data for transplant candidates and organ donors every single day.
Simply put, an API is a program that allows different computer applications to share data with one another, even when they weren’t designed to do that initially. To understand it, think about visiting a restaurant website on your smart phone which displays the restaurant’s address. Clicking on the address will immediately forward you to the Google Maps feature for directions—an API is what makes that possible. Google created an API, which then allowed the programmers who developed the site for the restaurant to code to that API and build a bridge between the two systems.
UNOS has started developing multiple APIs that will allow your OPO to do something similar. Integrating with the UNOS API’s will allow your systems to interface with us in a variety of ways – updating death registrations, adding file attachments, retrieving updated lookup data etc. This means increased efficiency, no double entry, and no longer having to constantly toggle back and forth between two systems.
The first API UNOS developed targets OPOs and focuses on death notification registration (DNR) reporting. By coding your system to use the DNR API, you will be able to add or update one or more DNR records seamlessly. This means no longer having to create a separate file to upload, or having to enter the data manually into UNet. California OPO OneLegacy has already integrated the DNR API into its digitalDONOR Electronic Medical Record application with positive results.
“We are excited to partner with the UNOS software team to successfully develop and implement its first API. This is a leap forward for both UNOS and the OPO Transplant Community. The DNR API is the first of many that will increase efficiencies and reduce administrative overhead while allowing us to focus our much needed resources on the donation process. We look forward to collaborating with UNOS on other innovative projects and to developing and implementing more API’s.”
Tom Seto, Director of Information Technology at OneLegacy
More than a month after going live and uploading their first DNR through the new API, OneLegacy’s Manager of Donor Information talked about how that particular API resulted in significant time savings for her team every day.
“We enter an average 60 death notification records each month and the DNR API allows us to automatically populate the required fields in the UNet DNR record for multiple records from our digitalDONOR EMR. We are excited to hear that the DDR API is on the horizon.”
Diana Ponce Martel, Manager of Donor Information at OneLegacy
UNOS has also completed an API to help OPOs manage donor attachments. Programming to these APIs will allow OPOs to attach files directly to the donor record, or view or store copies of files without having to log into DonorNet®. This summer UNOS plans to develop an API for the cPRA calculator; in 2017, UNOS will develop the remaining allocation calculator APIs (EPTS, MELD, PELD, LAS and KDPI).
Getting access to UNOS APIs is easy. Have your IT representative send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for login information to the developer portal. There they can then learn more about the available APIs and decide which ones are best for your organization, then start programming.