SFTP vs API : Which Integration Method Is Best?

two office employees comparing details on a document

As the healthcare industry continues to modernize with automated processes, important data has become decentralized. We use more software solutions today than ever before and getting those tools to communicate with each other can be a major challenge.

When we get into the specifics of software integrations, things can get confusing. What’s best for my organization? How will this affect my team? Will this disrupt our current workflow? Of course, improving workflow efficiency is always at the top of everyone’s list, but can feel like it is easier said than done. That doesn’t have to be the case! Different types of integrations can serve your organization in different ways. SFTP and API integrations are the two most popular and secure methods. Learn about what each is and the pros and cons in this post.

What is SFTP Integration?

The most frequently used integration method is through a secure file transfer protocol (SFTP). This method requires a flat-file that is updated manually, encoded, then transmitted through a secure channel between two platforms. These types of integrations are ideal when providing things like SSNs, addresses, login information, or any data you would want to protect. When sharing sensitive employee data with a vendor, you likely use the SFTP protocol.

The two main issues with the SFTP integration method are 1) it introduces the possibility for human error and can potentially allow crucial issues to perpetuate within the systems and 2) it does not function in real-time. As soon as the file is submitted, it could theoretically be outdated. In other words, you can only work with the data that is in the file. A new file would need to be submitted every time it needs to be edited. Not to mention the time and effort it takes to manually validate the file on an ongoing basis.

What is an API Integration?

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) act as the glue that allows our systems to interact with each other. This integration method allows secure and real-time data transfer between two or more unrelated systems providing the most up-to-date results. If you have ever been frustrated with constantly logging in to different tools to pull data or wonder why there are data discrepancies between tools, an API can solve those problems.

So, what does this mean for our folks responsible for compliance and provider eligibility?

With an API, historically isolated solutions like HRIS systems, ATSs, EMRs, and contract management tools can interact easily and effectively.

Something we are excited about here at ProviderTrust is how our partners, both payers and providers, can utilize our open API to monitor their employees, physician populations, and provider networks by offering direct access to exclusion data and primary source verifications in the software tools they use every day. Our API connects organizations to ProviderTrust’s best-in-class enriched data and automated primary source verification platform, providing instant and verified results!

Healthcare organizations using our API can now:

  • Perform instant verifications: At enrollment or at the time of claim submission
  • Receive ongoing monitoring alerts: For your physician populations and provider network
  • Schedule your primary source verifications: No longer just at credentialing, schedule them as needed

Connect with your HRIS, EMR, ATS, and contract management tool for instantly verified results

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