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New BaseHealth API Helps Developers Integrate Genomic, Health Assessment Data Into Bespoke Apps


NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – BaseHealth this week launched BaseHealth API, an application programming interface that enables developers to integrate the company's genomic data and comprehensive health assessments into health and well-being applications that they are developing for smart phones and other devices.

The BaseHealth API is built on the BaseHealth assessment engine, which uses genomic data in combination with clinical and behavioral analysis information to provide personalized health assessments for patients. These assessments help physicians improve health outcomes for patients and reduce disease risk.

This first iteration of the API offers five data services to developers. At the most basic level, customers can use the API to extract curated information on diseases of interest including data on associated genes, variants, risk factors ranked according to the impact on disease, actions that could reduce disease risk, and statistics about the disease and its prevalence. A second service generates a risk profile for patients for a requested disease based on genetics, diet, lifestyle, and environmental information. The profile includes details such as disease risk level at age 65, current and achievable odds for diseases, and lists of risk factors for each disease, according to the company.

A third service returns a drug response analysis based on input genetic variations. For this service, the API returns information such as effect of the genotype, attributes that the genotype affects, lists of variations that contribute to the effect, and the ethnicity where the effect has been observed. Similar information is provided for a fourth service focused on genetic variants and food response. A final service, dubbed the personalized assessment service, returns various types of information about members that are already on the BaseHealth platform, with their consent.

BaseHealth is offering developers free use of the API for up to 1,000 calls per month. After that, the company will charge 10 cents per call. That cost will drop as the volume of calls made increases, the company said.

In April, BaseHealth launched BaseHealth Enterprise, a version of its health management platform that's designed to enable regional health centers and health plan providers make personalized health assessments available to patients. The enterprise system, which integrates with existing electronic health record systems and other hospital infrastructure, builds on an earlier platform from the company called Genophen. Both systems use a combination of genomic, clinical, family history, and lifestyle information to assess patients' risk of developing more than 40 complex diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes, enabling physicians to intervene early and if necessary recommend behavioral modification strategies to reduce patients' disease risk and improve their long-term health.

The API and associated services target yet another market that's distinct from the target customer of both BaseHealth Enterprise and Genophen. This particular product is intended to provide developers of health and well-being applications for smart phones and other devices with direct access to the data contained in BaseHealth's system, BaseHealth CEO Prakash Menon told GenomeWeb. It also is designed to enable developers to make use of the company's health assessment capabilities. BaseHealth launched the API to tap into the growing market for health and wellness applications, he said.

In addition to creating these applications, developers often have to pull information from various sources to provide the most useful information to their target audience. BaseHealth already has accumulated and curated information in its system from more than 20,000 peer-reviewed papers covering more than 40 complex diseases, 17 drug responses, and nine kinds of food responses. The API provides access to this data thus freeing developers to focus on app development rather than worry about collating disparate datasets, Menon said. They can also take advantage of the company's health and risk assessment profiling capabilities rather than expend resources developing their own assessment tools, he said.

Moreoever, developers don't need to have accounts with BaseHealth to use the API and none of the information in their applications is captured and stored on BaseHealth's infrastructure. They can simply use the API anonymously to access the company's data and use what they need in their applications, Menon said.

Already, a number of companies and groups who are developing health applications have either expressed interest in or are using BaseHealth's API. That list includes companies such as, a firm founded by wellness and anti-aging physicians who are developing a medical service that is intended to provide state-of-the-art wellness and anti-aging medicine and modern technology, and Precision Wellness, a wellness startup. Generally, Menon said, these applications fall in three categories. The first of these is being developed by physicians and is intended to enable them to explore and use available information including genetic results from companies like 23andMe, information from personal devices such as physical activity levels, and other sources of data to improve the health and well being of their patients.

Other applications are focused on helping individuals manage or prevent the onset of chronic diseases such as type II diabetes. A final category includes health risk assessment apps that are being developed and used by some payers, Menon said. One unnamed customer in this category, for example, has a health risk assessment app in place already and is trying to use the BaseHealth API to incorporate genetic factors into its assessments, he said.

BaseHealth plans to make additional services available through the API in the near future. For instance, Menon said, the company plans to add a service that will enable clients to generate more personalized recommendations based on the data they collect from and about their patients. Currently, the services available through the API give only general information on health risks and provide general assessments that are not personal to the patient in question. That capability is only available through BaseHealth's broader solution. However, the company plans to make personalized recommendations available as an API service within a few weeks, Menon said.