On April 5th and 6th, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) held a workshop at MITRE in McLean VA on the subject of “Provider Directories”. Attendees included representatives from health plans, state organizations, health providers, and the military. A key takeaway from the two days for me is that there are a myriad of use cases for provider directories throughout the US healthcare ecosystem. The meeting included healthy debate around such issues as who should operate the directory, who should pay for the directory, and which technologies should be employed. What most participants did agree on, however, is that reliable and accurate provider directories represent an important tool for improving US healthcare system operations.

My software demonstration was designed to show how provider data can be updated by a 3rd party application using a RESTFul API, protected by oAuth2, in a FHIR format. Below is a list of the various components along with brief descriptions.

Software Components

oAuth2 and Write API Gateway Server: This server controls the Authorization Server, the Protected Resources (our updated APIs), and the API administration. It is a Django application making use of Django oAuth Toolkit. Running Demo|Source code 

oAuth2 Example Client: This sample client lets a client user login and subsequently call a series of RESTFul APIs to update provider data. It is a Django application making use of python-social-auth. Running Demo|Source code

Public Provider Registry and Read APIs: This application serves up data to humans and machines. The user interface provides simple NPPES search capabilities. NPPES and other types of provider data are available via API and there are numerous APIs available from this server. (I’ll be adding a catalog with documentation soon). During my demonstration I presented a “PECOS API” that reports if a provider participates in Medicare and, if so, for which provider organizations. The URL I demonstrated is here: https://registry.npi.io/search/pecos/base.json?NPI=1205824083. I plan to make some updates soon to reorganize the data to simplify things. Running Demo | Source code

Provider Data Tools:  This is a set of command line tools and libraries for manipulating provider data. It can break the NPPES data into smaller CSVs and convert the NPPES data into FHIR resource documents or Provider JSON documents. It can also help import those data into a MongoDB database. See the README in the source code for more documentation. Source code 

Select Data Sources

NPPES Data

PECOS Provider Enrollment Data

Charlie Ornstein’s Tip Sheet on Medicare Datasets