Healthcare EDI Standards – A Critical Component of Efficient Healthcare Delivery

October 9th, 2009

One industry where EDI plays an important role is healthcare where uniform standards ensure smooth transactions between both private and government sponsored health insurance plans and the healthcare provider.

These standards are mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a law passed in 1996 to provide standards for both automating business processing and keeping patient records secure and private.

There are several steps to how doctors submit claims to insurers to be paid for the services they render. The first step is the software program they use, which all now comply with the HIPAA standards. However, some doctors use other applications for this in which case they have to translate their information into an EDI format. Insurers cannot and will not accept anything other than EDI formatted information due to the HIPAA law.

Beyond this, the data is transmitted from the doctor’s office to the payer using either a point-to-point connection or a clearinghouse.

Check out this new article in the information technology knowledge center at and learn more about the important role EDI plays in the healthcare industry.

Enforcing IT Standards in an Ironclad Fashion Can Be Counterproductive

September 17th, 2009

Information technology professionals often view things as an absolute choice between right and wrong, black and white and so on.

IT standards are like about anything else…there are no absolutes. Gray areas do exist where exceptions to standards inevitably rise. An engineer may want to purchase a software program IT hasn’t approved of or a company vice president may want some special cell phone or laptop.

While we love our standards, most other people in the organization are not familiar with them – much like we’re probably not too familiar with human resources or purchasing standards.

Standards are a good thing and necessary but in of themselves, they do not resolve anything. If they did, there would be no need for managers to dissect each argument for or against. Simply saying no and hiding behind the published standards will do nothing but create animosity at your company.

IT standards are developed to help make the company more efficient and productive…notable goals indeed.

Recognize there are some situations that an exception to the published standards is valid and find ways to work around it. When developing IT standards, determine which ones absolutely must be followed and which ones are less important that have some flexibility.

In the end, remember that standards are a means to an end, not the end itself.

Learn more about IT standards and the importance of being open minded when dealing with them in this Forbes magazine article.

President Obama would have Emergency Control of Internet under Proposed Law

September 3rd, 2009

Here’s a development coming out of Washington that web masters and information technology professionals need to know about.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 to the dismay of Internet companies and civil liberties groups. CNET News has obtained a revised version of the bill, S. 773, only to learn that it grants far-reaching powers to the executive branch to seize temporary control of private sector networks during a cybersecurity crisis.

This new law would allow the president to declare a “cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” networks and do whatever is necessary to respond to the threat. If passed, the new law would also create a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals” – certain private sector IT managers will be required to obtain this new license.

“I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness. It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill,” states Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance.

A Senate source familiar with the bill compared this new authority to when former President Bush (43) grounded all aircraft in the midst of the 9/11 terror attacks.

The new law would also require all federal agencies create a “cybersecurity workforce plan” and implement a “comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy” within 6 months. However, it will take almost a year to complete the legal review.

The most controversial part of the bill is found in section 201 which permits the President to “direct the national response to the cyber threat” for “the national defense and security.” The administration will be required to conduct “periodic mapping” of critical private networks and companies “shall share” requested information with the federal government.

The bill does not detail what a “critical” network is however and that is why there is much concern about this legislation among IT professionals and civil liberties interests. The bill does define the term “Cyber” as anything to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers or computer networks – a very broad definition indeed.

Read this article from CNET News to learn more. We will monitor the progress of this legislation and post updates to the information technology blog.

New Online IT Outlet and Bookstore is your One-Stop Source for your Computing Needs

August 6th, 2009

Small business owners and information technology professionals can now easily find all of their information needs at the new online computer bookstore contains many resources IT professionals and business people need to effectively harness electronic data interchange and service oriented architecture utilities. Find instructional manuals for the latest versions of Microsoft BizTalk and Microsoft SharePoint.

And find great deals on computers, wireless accessories, digital photography and all your electronic needs.

Additional knowledge resources on the homepage keep you in the loop on happenings in the information technology and computing industries. Knowledge center articles help you easily learn how different business automation options help your business succeed.

A new white paper detailing how Microsoft BizTalk will be out soon…visit soon to learn how the BizTalk server helps business operate more effectively and maintain competitive.

Strong Second Quarter Graphics Chip Sales Indicate PC Recovery

July 28th, 2009

Sales of graphics chips in the second quarter of 2009 indicate a recovery of the personal computer industry in the second half of this year according to market research.

Considered a leading indicator in the PC industry, more graphics chip sales mean more manufacturers like Dell are planning on building more computers. Hardware is manufactured and assembled before being sold to the end customer.

According to John Peddie Research, shipments of graphics chips rose over 31.29% over the first quarter to 98.3 million units. Data indicates computer makers depleted their inventories in the second half of 2008 due to the effects of the recession.

It’s not expected for graphics chip sales to return to 2008 levels until next year. But many factors are combining to suggest a recovery in the PC market is in the offing. It’s back-to-school time across the country. Both Apple and Microsoft are planning to release new operating systems in the near future. AMD and Nvidia are aggressively pricing higher performing 40-nanometer chips along with spiked demand due to depleted inventories.

All top-three chip makers saw their market share increase in Q2, with AMD seeing the largest.

Stay tuned to the information technology blog to monitor events in the personal computer and information technology industries and their role in any economic recovery.

SharePoint Services Available For a Fraction of the Cost

July 17th, 2009

Have a small business that’s growing and need a way to effectively collaborate and exchange information?

Would you like to invest in Microsoft SharePoint or similar technology to allow more effective use of your time but find the costs very prohibitive?

Certified SharePoint hosting companies are the solution to this perplexing problem.

A new article in the information technology knowledge center provides some good insights into what you need to look for when researching SharePoint services.

Most importantly, they must have certification from Microsoft, known as the Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA), to distribute and maintain Microsoft SharePoint legally. Without it, you could be opening yourself up to major SharePoint service disruptions and legal problems.

Aside from that, only pay for what you need and adjust accordingly as you go long. Most SharePoint service firms have flexible packages to allow for future growth without any headaches.

Read Obtain SharePoint Services for a Fraction of the Cost today and begin enjoying the benefits of Microsoft SharePoint without massive upfront investment.

Google’s New Operating System!

July 13th, 2009

Rumors that Google will develop an operating system are nothing new.

What’s new is Google’s announcement that they are indeed building a new operating system. Google Chrome is slated to be released later next year according to this S.E. Roundtable post.

The Google Chrome OS will be a lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. According to Google’s blog post announcing the new system, it’s being designed to enable you to boot-up and be online in mere seconds.

Most of the system is web based and accessed over the Internet. The software architecture will run on both x86 and ARM chips, running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.

Speculation on the forums is rampant…is Google going after Microsoft? Some think Google is getting into something they should stay out of. See forum discussions at WebMasterWorld and DigitalPoint Forums

Online Beneficiary Management Service Latest Example of EDI Integration

July 8th, 2009

Just to give you a real-world of example of electronic data interchange (EDI), First Dearborn Life Insurance Company has just announced a new system allowing employees to make their group life insurance beneficiary designations without completing a paper form.

Employees will have access to the system 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Tony Trani, president and CEO of First Dearborn said in a press release “It will lower costs by eliminating paper and utilizing a more efficient online process. It will give employers a well-organized management system that provides clear-cut, secure records of employee beneficiary designations.”

See this article at TechWeb.

Learn the ins and outs of how an EDI system like this would work for you at the information technology knowledge center today!

Who Develops Standards for Electronic Data Interchange?

June 19th, 2009

EDI plays a critical role in operating a business in today’s globalized economy. To facilitate the electronic exchange of business information, standards have to be developed.

In the U.S., these standards are referred to as ASC-X12 and are developed by a group of the same name chartered in 1979 by the American National Standards Association. X12 facilitates electronic business transactions by establishing a common, uniform language.

These EDI standards make it possible to conduct nearly all B2B transactions over a computer – in fact, there are over 275 unique transaction sets for a wide variety of industries.

The ASC-X12 committee is broken down into five different subcommittees: Communications and Control, Finance, Government, Insurance and Transportation.

Learn more about the organization and how they develop the EDI standards that are so important for your business to operate efficiently a new article entitled Uniform Standards Assures EDI Solutions Effectively Exchange Information between Computer Systems at the IT knowledge center

Defining Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies

June 10th, 2009

Service oriented architecture, or SOA, is a term that’s been increasingly used in the information technology world – but what is it?

An article in the information technology knowledge center sheds some light on this technology that has become increasingly useful and more affordable in recent years. Small businesses now more than ever find it possible, and necessary, to invest in SOA solutions.

To better understand what SOA is, we must first learn what term “service” means. Services are like building blocks that allow a user to organize information in ways that are familiar. In other words, a service is the mechanism by which a customer’s want or need is satisfied.

An SOA system, or server, links different programs together which allows for the exchange of information and automation of business processes.

You interact with SOA if you buy things online – several steps in the buying process have to work together for the customer to have a seamless transaction.

Read Defining Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies at to learn more about this important IT system.