In-Depth: Digital health APIs every health startup should know

By Brian Dolan

Jawbone Up 24Jawbone: Recently Jawbone, maker of the fitness tracker UP, offered third party developers access to APIs via its Jawbone UP Platform. "The purpose of this API is to enable the exchange of select data in order to extend and augment the UP user experience and support complementary services," the company writes. "This can include data aggregation and visualization, gaming, marketing, rewards provisioning, and more." Jawbone's API enables developers to both share their app or device's data within the Jawbone app (displayed in the Jawbone user's activity feed) as well as display certain Jawbone data points in their own third party apps. Jawbone makes a variety of data points available through its API including those related to activity, mood, diet, sleep, and more. Jawbone UP API

Kaiser Permanente: Integrated delivery network (IDN) Kaiser Permanente made headlines when it announced a vision for a world where external developers help it address pressing health care challenges, like access, cost, and quality, through specific APIs. Kaiser made available its first data set -- its healthcare facilities' location data through an API. "The first data set of information available is a Location API, which includes Kaiser Permanente facility and location information for 37 hospitals and more than 600 medical office buildings, pharmacies, and emergency rooms, filtered by hours of operation and specialty," it wrote. "The Location API can be integrated with geolocation for proximity services, directions and other map activities." In the future Kaiser plans to add APIs that offer third party developers "access to an ecosystem of wellness devices and dashboards to manage health and wellness" as well as a "searchable index of Kaiser Permanente research publications and studies." Kaiser Permanente API

Lumo Body Tech: Lumo Body Tech offers users devices and apps that help them track and improve their posture. Its first device, LumoBack, is one that users strap on to their midsection. It connects to an app that alerts them if their posture is not ideal. Lumo Lift, a smaller clip-on device for upper body posture tracking, is the company's latest effort but it just finished preorders and has yet to ship. According to the company's terms of service, Lumo's API is available to third party developers, but the company just provides an email address to contact if a developer has inquiries. LumoBack API

MC10 stretchable sensorMapMyFitness: MapMyFitness, which was recently acquired by Under Armour, wants to build the world's largest connected fitness platform and hopes to do so by opening its API up to everyone from small app developers to big brands. The company, which offers users a workout trainer and fitness tracker, has two APIs -- a standard API and an enterprise API. In the enterprise API, MapMyFitness takes care of all the technical barriers to integrating with their system, which could include storing big data and integrating with new devices. The enterprise API can also support five million requests per day and "sub-second" response times. MapMyFitness API

MC10: Although MC10, maker of flexible electronics that can track biometric data, has not advertised API integration on its website, the company is currently hiring for someone who can develop backend applications and manage "outsourced developers" for MC10's mobile software development. The API looks like it will help developers integrate with MC10’s body wearable sensors and mobile devices using Bluetooth and also integrate MC10's apps with back-end web services. MC10 API

meQuilibrium: meQuilibrium offers an online stress management application for employees that assesses and identifies sources of stress and then works to find ways to remedy them. The company offers an API to embed its offering into existing employee wellness portals if an employer customer already has one up and running. meQuilibrium API

Misfit Shine: Misfit Shine's API is currently in beta, though CEO Sonny Vu says it is available for the asking for developers who have "a compelling case." Vu said it will be "very similar to APIs available in other connected health products." The Shine API is due out by the end of the second quarter, but Vu is more excited about the company's software development kit, which they plan to share with a few select partners for a tighter integration.

Moves-2-on-iPhone-5sMoves: Moves not only opens up their API to other developers, the company has also created a list showcasing good examples of devices that have integrated with the Moves app. The company offers a fitness tracking app, which can passively track its users' movements -- the app runs in the background. Some of the apps that Moves lists as its partners include OptimizeMe, TicTrac, Nudge, and Everymove. Developers can collect daily summaries for users, which include step count, distance and duration for each activity tracked. The developers can also go deeper and access activity breakdowns, places the user went, a storyline of the user's activity, and a list of specific activities the user did. Moves API

MyFitnessPal: Not unlike some of the other companies on this list, nutrition and fitness tracker, popular fitness platform MyFitnessPal, only offers a private API, which is available to "approved" developers. When requesting an API, the developer must fill out a form that specifies if they are developing a mobile app, creating a fitness device, or our another kind of fitness company. MyFitnessPal is also curious about whether the company is focused on nutrition, a healthcare provider, a wellness service, a wellness service, or just interested in the API for personal use. The company also offered developers six options for what they're interested in doing with the data -- post or pull user activity data, post or pull nutrition data, and post or pull the food database. MyFitnessPal API