Google, Amazon and Soundcloud all have successfully deployed microservices. Let\u2019s modernize healthcare applications with microservices.\nMicroservice architecture transfers healthcare providers and payers from one large application into smaller applications. These little applications or \u201cmicro\u201d applications provide specialization using service-oriented architectures (SOA) by building dependent and flexible components. These micro pieces are not simple CRUD (create, read, update, delete) services \u2014 they have responsibilities.\nMicroservices combine lightweight mechanisms that offer scalability (Netflixsupporting 800 different devices and 1 billion calls a day) and can support a range of platforms and interactions (the web, mobile, IoT, wearables).\nThe world of microservices\nThere are many reasons why microservices are valuable for healthcare. Before we jump into those reasons, let's define the ecosystem that makes up the world of micro services.\n\nCode management: Atlassian, GitHub, Gitlab\nContinous integration: JFrog, CircleCI, Shippable, CloudBees, Codeship, Werker\nServices discovery and planning: Docker, Kubernetes, Hashicorp\nService optimization: Force12.io\nSecurity and compliance: Illumio, Twistlock, Conjur, Apcera, Redlock, Scalock, CloudPassage, Banyan, StackRox, Palo Alto Networks\nInter-service communications: Confluent, Hystrix, NATS, Tensyr, Thrift, gRPC, Ginagle, Rabbit by Pivotal\nAPI management: Mulesoft, Kong, Akana, WSO2, Apigee, 3Scale, Runscope, Mashery\nOperating systems: Ironic, Mesosphere, Linux, UNIXC, Windows, CoreOS\nMonitoring environments and log analysis: Wavefront, Nagio, Runscope, DataDog, Netsil, New Relic, Sysdig, App Dynamics, SignalFX, Elastic, SumoLogic, Splunk, Logentries\nPlatform management: Docker, Nirmata, Apcera, ManageIQ, Rancher, Flexiant, AppFormix, Stack Engine by Oracle, Containership\nLoad balancing: NGINX, Datawire, Buoyant, HAprozy, Traefik\nInfrastructure automation frameworks: HashiCorp, Puppet, Chef, Ansible by Red Hat, SaltStack\nDatabase and data management: ClusterHQ, MongoDB, Cockroach, Minio, Crate.io\nNetwork: Cumulus, Big Switch, FBOSS, Wedge,\u00a0OpenSwitch, Calico, Weaveworks\nConverged infrastructure: Ceph by Red Hat, Springpath, Datawise, Portworx\nPlatforms: OpenShift, Cloud Foundry, Docker, Deis, Joyent\nPublic cloud: AWS, IBM, Azure, DigitalOcean, VMware, Google\n\nA dynamic response to changing business conditions\nMicroservices provide agility and align well with changing business needs that require automation and the ability for functionality to be recomposed. The benefit of intrinsic interoperability with industrywide standards (HTTP and JSON) ensures that your technology is enabling your business to solidify your competitive advantage.\nMicroservices work off a three-layer system: system APIs (core business capabilities), process APIs (orchestration and choreography of components) and experience APIs (adaptable processes and configurable options).\u00a0As patient engagement, sustainability, and outcomes prove ever more critical, the ability to micronize your healthcare environment will become a best practice in healthcare. The speed of delivery, accelerating innovation capabilities and new models of care today are prerequisites for a functional and efficient business operation.\nMicroservices for healthcare enable this vision.\nAvoiding the snowball\nMonolithic applications like the large electronic health record systems we know and love, eventually snowball into unreasonably large systems. The effect is that problems quickly snowball, out of control. Simple changes need to be made in multiple locations. Various systems across a healthcare ecosystem are running on different versions or service patients using entirely different and unconnected systems. Value is siloed.\nWhat's our solution\u00a0to this problem? Our solution is that we build the functionality over and over again. We try to "reuse" components, but for the most part, they are constructed initially by vendors and then modernized \u2014 and that means another bill for similar work. Moving away from limited-reuse applications enables organizations to slide move toward the edge of innovation \u2014 where the most value occurs.\nMicroservice\u00a0providers acknowledge there are tradeoffs when leading initiatives that require scale (multiple location installations), including the following:\n\nService discovery and documentation\nFault tolerance\nQuality of service\nSecurity\nRequest traceability\nFailure triage\n\nStart exploring the value of microservices\nIt's always difficult when exploring new areas you're unfamiliar with. Here are a few steps to help jump-start the journey of incorporating microservices into your healthcare environment.\n\nIdentify potential microservices categories where you may find value.\nDefine the scope of responsibility for the identified microservices.\nConsider the type of information that will be transmitted.\nAssociate business processes with the technical functionality defined.\nLink technical processes to the business processes.\nResearch capabilities that are ahead on the business road map \u2014 capabilities\u00a0 that are not offered today but are desired. The following steps are typically done with tools, not manually.\nDesign the micro service starting with the API definition and elaborate how the service will be consumed (REST or event-driven)\nDevelop a service\u00a0mocking\u00a0or simulation. This step is also known by isolation, simulation or virtualization. In essence, you're building something that works as something else.\nDeploy the microservice. This is where we transition from deploying\u00a0to multi-tenant environments like JBoss AS or Tomcat and leverage IaaS automation frameworks such as HashiCorp or Chef and virtualization technology such as Xen or VMware.\nManage container systems. Conflicts and container integration must be proactively managed. Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Mesosphere DCOS have recognized this gap and are evolving to address the need.\n\nBest-of-breed healthcare solutions\nThis year, your team will identify new technical capabilities. They will assess how these skills will align to the predefined needs of the business. As a healthcare leader, what do you expect out of this analysis? What have we always expected? We expect a recommendation \u2014 a single recommendation.\nWhen was the last time your team identified, assessed and presented options and the result was a set of five to eight products that worked together and provided a unified best-of-breed solution? I'd say it probably hasn't happened in the past 30 days and likely not even within the past year. Whether you're assessing a healthcare medical record solution or a pure desktop product used by clinicians, everyone wants simplicity.\nUnfortunately, in today's knowledge-rich world, one solution rarely provides all the answers. As a result, we "fit." We fit our solution into whatever problem hole we find. The solution rarely fits the need perfectly, yet we just cram the solution into the problem space. The action correspondingly has a ton of white space where the solution didn't solve the intended problem (business or technical).\nDelivering the value of simple\nThe most logical microservices uses are attributable to business processes or transactions. Microservice responsibility goes beyond pushing data. Each service is discrete and encapsulates a set of responsibilities. These responsibilities may relate to a business domain such as claims or billing. However, they also could relate to technical domains such as operating systems or network performance.\nThe benefit of deploying microservices is the micro scale of functionality that is agonistic to a particular domain or subdomain such as claims reconciliation. The patient name, account number and balance may also be applicable across other business areas such as patient entry, patient discharge or utilization. Microservices begin with business-oriented designs commonly in the form of APIs (business interactions to access information).\nAdaptability, loose coupling, autonomy, fault tolerance, composability and discoverability each offer the advantage of reuse \u2014 a core principle supporting the value of microservices design. Define the problem first. Savvy healthcare pioneers have already discovered that microservices help solve problems by getting back to simple.