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Electronic Data Interchange has been adopted by several industries since the early 1980's. Other industries are just beginning to utilize this technology. The health care industry is in the latter category. The goal in health care is to seamlessly process health care information in an electronic environment. Major issues surface during implementation of EDI transactions. A user base of one-million for a given transaction presents many concerns. Version Control relative to updates/ revisions to the standard for a user base of this size is a key issue. Another issue involves the aggressive time frames which may be mandated by federal and/or state legislation or required by competitive market forces. These are just a sample of the issues facing the health care industry in the attempt to fully exploit EDI.
To address these and other pertinent issues an ad-hoc work group was formed by X12N, the Insurance Sub-Committee of ASC X12. The purpose of this ad-hoc group was to analyze the feasibility of massively deploying EDI transactions in an industry, addressing such key topics as Version Control and Translation Software. During the analysis it soon became apparent that many other factors (areas) significantly influenced the deployment of standards. These factors included Telecommunications, Implementation Guide Development, Testing and Education. The scope of the group expanded to include these six specific areas:
It also became quite apparent that resolutions/ recommendations for these issues would not only benefit the health care industry but may benefit other industries as well. The ad-hoc group became a special task group (Upward/ Downward Compatibility) to ASC X12N.
A series of White Papers was constructed, each paper focusing on one of the six topics listed above. The White Papers can be used in conjunction with one another to deploy a comprehensive EDI initiative or separately as stand alone documents to aid with specific phases of the initiative. The documents address the subjects from a business perspective. Some technical areas are also discussed.