I. BACKGROUND Education has been of major significance to many industries that have implemented or are currently implementing EDI. After companies and industries have made the commitment to EDI, the pace of implementation becomes dependent on a level of understanding of this technology within the industry. This level of comprehension is achieved primarily through education and experience. In a preferred environment, education precedes experience. However in reality, on the job training is often used as a substitute for education (worst case scenario) or may occur prior to education. In any instance as the level of understanding increases whether through education or experience so does the level of proficiency. With this increased level of proficiency comes unique utilizations of EDI. Formal EDI education coupled with experience helps to reduce the learning curve necessary to achieve this level of proficiency. Formal EDI education is available through various organizations. A number of courses are offered at the full trimester X12 meetings that occur in February, June and October. The Data Interchange Standards Association (DISA) sponsors an annual exhibit and conference that provides education at all levels --- beginning, intermediate and advanced. Some industry action groups offer extensive EDI training at both the business and technical level. A major source for specific technical training can be obtained from EDI vendors of translation software. This training is typically included in the contract. This training will tend to be vendor specific. Some local EDI user groups provide EDI training sessions as well. In most cases enrollment in these sessions involves a registration fee. Costs other than registration that occur as a result of attending these sessions includes travel and living expenses. Additionally informal education is acquired as individuals involved in administering EDI at their companies "network" with their peers. Some industries promote this networking by getting new trading partners in contact with current trading partners that are similar to the new partner's line of business. Networking promotes comraderie and valuable exchange of knowledge among EDI users regardless of whether there are alliances, competitors or mutually exclusive businesses. II. CHALLENGE As an industry embarks on the incorporation of new technologies into their work practices the question of education begins to emerge. It is a question of educating the industry in the use of the new technology as well as gaining the expertise in order to determine applicability and potential use or maximization within the industry. With the onset of EDI (as a technology as well as a business philosophy) into an industry, the same education challenge exists. The larger the user base in the industry the more significant the challenge. As each industry begins it's journey into EDI/ Electronic Commerce (EC), many new issues such as variable formats, CPU-CPU transmissions, envelopes, functional groups and translators are introduced. Initially there is little EDI expertise in the industry to address this need, thus creating a learning curve that must be addressed and overcome. Coupled with the advent of EDI is the appearance of electronic mail, imaging, messaging, graphics, and many other Electronic Commerce (EC) technologies that must also be understood. The ultimate goal is to be an EDI fluent industry through increasing the knowledge base of the user community relative to EDI and EC. Industries thus far have migrated to a paperless world via EDI at a pace corresponding to business need. Some industries are under government edicts to become paperless and electronic. The procurement process within the federal government is well on the way in implementing EDI to achieve a paperless process. Another sector of the economy that must be responsive to government time frames is health care. Due to the volume of health care entities as well as the number of X12 transactions to be implemented, education relative to this new terminology, philosophy and technology becomes quite a feat. In the event that legislation (federal or state) is passed the expediency for education becomes exacerbated. In other instances major players in an industry have required their suppliers to do EDI to continue the business relationship. EDI abilities have been incorporated in audits conducted by customers of their suppliers. Proficiency with EDI/ EC has become a business requirement. EDI/ EC education must be conducted from both a business and technical perspective. Receiving and sending information in an electronic fashion will necessitate modifications to business work practices. This awareness must be conveyed to the EDI/ EC business implementer as well as the technical personnel involved with EDI/ EC implementations. Detailed technical training is also required for the technical implementers. However an awareness of high level technical issues must also be comprehended by affected business personnel. Hence, EDI/ EC education needs to be addressed at both a business and technical level. The challenge becomes taking an industry that is a novice to EDI and evolving it into an EDI capable industry in the shortest time frame allowed by either legislation or competitive forces. Education is a critical part in transforming the health care industry from a paper based batch data transmission intensive industry to an electronic interactive industry. The quest is to massively deploy standards in a time frame conducive to legislative and competitive requirements. III. SCOPE AND OBJECTIVE The scope of this white paper is to address educational EDI issues relative to the migration of American business and society to the electronic information age. By definition, the meaning of "to educate" is to provide with training for some particular purpose. Extrapolating this definition relative to EC/ EDI would imply providing training for personnel (enterprises) utilizing EC/ EDI in their business environment or for personal use. Basic education would provide the foundation and knowledge base relative to EC/ EDI concepts and functionalities while advanced education would focus upon philosophy, strategy and various methods of deployment. Education becomes particularly significant when massively deploying these technologies in an industry in which they are relatively new. It becomes crucial if legislation is enacted that stipulates specific time frames for implementation. Health care is an example of such an industry. Standards based EDI is relatively new in health care. A firm conceptualization and understanding concerning the philosophy of these technologies is still developing in health care. Legislation regarding health care at both the federal and state level requires the use of electronic standardized formats. Some legislative bills specifically refer to the implementation and utilization of X12 formats. When the pace of implementation is accelerated by legislation or through competitive forces, the need for more educational opportunities to satisfy a large user base can become a reality very quickly. Another example of the pending demand for education is the growing awareness and the availability in accessing national information networks. An example of a global network could be the Internet. Additionally, the telephone and cable companies in America are preparing for the information age. Advertisements depicting the capabilities provided by the telephone and cable companies are becoming common place specifically enticing the consumer to link to the network through their company. Users of the networks must become knowledgeable in telecommunications, electronic mail, imaging, video conferencing to name a few. Hence a different market is emerging in our society -- an electronic information market, creating a need and desire for a new kind of knowledge. III. EDUCATION ALTERNATIVES The alternatives enumerated below have been identified relative to EDI/ EC education requirements for mass implementations in short or aggressive time frames. These are possible alternatives that currently exist or may need to exist to fulfill EDI/ EC educational requirements in cases of mass implementation. EDI/ EC educational requirements are both global and specific in nature. There is the need to understand and conceptualize the philosophy of EDI/ EC as well as a need for specific technical education regarding such things as EDI software and the implementation of transaction sets. Hence education in EDI/ EC is both business and technically oriented. The key is to provide a composite that meets the needs of the clientele of the particular class or session. ALTERNATIVE I - STATUS QUO This alternative implies that EDI education that currently exists will continue to be available, however there will be no effort to supplement or augment this educational effort. This is the same educational effort that has enabled industries such as automobile, transportation, retail, grocery to implement EDI in their respective industries. An area of concern with this alternative is whether it can support an EC/ EDI initiative that is legislatively invoked in an industry that would necessitate a rapid industry wide or regional implementation. ALTERNATIVE II - STATUS QUO WITH AN ACCELERATION IN MULTIMEDIA TRAINING This alternative augments current EC/ EDI education with multi media capabilities and requires education vendors to formulate EDI courses for availability to the user base either through video, self study or video conferencing. This augmentation lacks the personal, individual teacher - student educational setting that has been so predominant in our country. The effectiveness of this type of education would be directly related to the degree of education and understanding that is required. Individuals requiring a high level or overview understanding may benefit more from these courses than those requiring an in depth understanding. Eventually this information could be accessible via commercial information utilities. ALTERNATIVE III - NATIONAL BOARD (INHERENT IN FEDERAL LEGISLATION) This alternative calls for EC/ EDI education to be under the realm of the national boards stipulated in many of the current health care reform bills. Along with the other functions stipulated within the legislation, this board would be responsible for the proliferation of EDI knowledge throughout the United States. Responsibility for EC/ EDI education at this level can be particularly beneficial since the current executive branch of our federal government has been emphasizing the migration to electronic commerce and the information autobahn. The education provided through this effort would be available to those enterprises that are affiliated with government contracts as well as those that are not. It would be an organized, controlled and planned effort to provide a focal point for the migration of the American society to the electronic information age. ALTERNATIVE IV - STATE BOARD RESPONSIBLE FOR EC/ EDI EDUCATION In lieu of national health care reform, many states are adopting reform legislation of their own. This alternative makes the states responsible for providing EC/ EDI educational opportunities to their EC/ EDI user base. This education can be incorporated into curriculum in the schools, colleges and universities. Eventually the migration of the American society to an electronic information seeking environment would find education relative to this migration common place in our educational institutions. Just as personal computer courses are common place today, EC/ EDI courses will need to be common place in tomorrow's education curriculum. V. ISSUES Availability of EDI training courses/ sessions in a timely manner. Costs affiliated with EDI training and the learning curve involved. Need to couple EDI/ EC with business process re- engineering and the training required for this additional component. Recognition of the need for training. Quality uniform and comprehensive curriculum and leaders. Evaluation of training relative to effectiveness. Negotiation of education within the contract with the translation software vendor --- on-site/ off-site training. Pre-requisite of business analysis/ needs assessment which may require training in itself. VI. RECOMMENDATION Specific educational requirements regarding EDI/ EC can vary between and within industries. The educational requirement is proportional to the level of EDI/ EC expertise within the industry and in particular with the business partners involved. Industries that have a large number of EDI novices will have a greater need for orientation type education than those industries that are more EDI/ EC fluent. EDI curriculum for novice users must include an explanation of the X12 protocol as well as an explanation of the acronyms associated with this technology. The EDI/ EC fluent industries will have a need for advanced EDI/ EC concepts. Regardless of the level of fluency the need for education exists. For site EDI/ EC implementations, it is imperative that an understanding of EDI/ EC concepts from both a business and technical perspective be attained before undergoing the selection process for EDI translation software. This understanding is critical for decision making purposes. The better the understanding and conceptualization the better prepared the evaluators of the software products will be to make a well-informed business decision. This understanding/ education can then be augmented with the technically oriented training that is offered by most translation software vendors. Some additional courses that are desperately needed include Management of Executive Management's Expectations and Interpersonal and Negotiation Skills Relative to EDI Vendors. A prerequisite to the selection process is a corporate Needs Analysis/ Assessment regarding EDI/ EC in the corporation. This Needs Analysis should contain an understanding of the current environment as well as an conceptualization of corporate goals and objectives for the future. To conduct and complete this analysis/ assessment may necessitate education/ training in itself. Inherent in the analysis may be the need for re-engineering of the business process. This may necessitate a educational requirement to complete re-engineering tasks regarding process/ work , functional and data flow analysis. Hence there may be additional educational needs to EDI/ EC. It is recommended that all types of training/ education be uniform among the sponsoring agencies and comprehensive in nature. Education relative to specific transactions should be intricately tied to the national implementation for the transaction. For example the WEDI National Implementation Guide for the ASC X12 835 (Claim Payment/ Advice) should be the core document for a class pertaining to the claim payment/ advice. The transfer of knowledge can occur through various mediums such as X12 conferences, forums and through formal classroom sessions. Perhaps a Speaker Bureau can be established as a focal point for knowledgeable, quality speakers. It is hoped that eventually colleges and universities will offer courses for EDI, EC and telecommunications relative to national information highways. Implementation plans for EDI related education should be inherent in tactical plans for the implementation of transactions or in an EDI/ EC strategy or initiative. Time frames relative to EDI education may necessitate the development of a certain level of expertise in a short period of time. This may be particularly true in instances where standardization is mandated or legislated. Optimal education solutions should be cognizant of cost, benefit and time. Adequate funding for proper education should be provided so that as personnel gain hands-on experience and acquire certain levels of expertise, initial mistakes that are typically made can be avoided. This proactive move should eliminate the time, effort and cost for rework and resolving these initial mistakes. Depending on the required implementation time frame, some initial mistakes may prove to be unrecoverable. Education plays a key role in the successful implementation of standards and the deployment of these standards in an industry. Appendix A Example of EDI Curriculum for the Health Care Industry IV. EDUCATION CURRICULUM Depicted here are the areas that would need to be addressed in "any" of the above education alternatives. The intent of this curriculum is to convey EDI in the overall EC schema. Training pertaining to specific transactions would occur os preparation for implementation. The curriculum listed below should be considered an initial list with augmentation by business needs and requirements. The courses are not in any specific sequence or educational track. I. ELECTRONIC COMMERCE (EC) Basics Define components of Electronic Commerce Describe components of Electronic Commerce Identify goals and objectives Identify Benefits II. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Basics - Part 1 Define EDI Illustrate the EDI Process Differentiate between EDI and EMC Differentiate between UB82, UB92, NSF and EDI Differentiate between ANSI ASC X12 and EDIFACT III. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Basics - Part 2 Differentiate between translation and transmission Discuss Value Added Networks, Value Added Banks Identify goals and objectives Illustrate the "Seamless Process" Identify Benefits IV. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Organization Identify Players Identify Organizations Identify Standards Process Identify Acronyms IV. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Structure Discuss the X12 Process Discuss the language - X12ese Define the structure of the X12 standard Discuss envelope Discuss contents of transaction set Differentiate between format and data content Discuss compression; transmission V. Direct Health Care Transactions Review the list of direct health care transactions Briefly describe each of the health care transactions Pictorially depict the flow of the direct health care transactions amongst the various business entities Differentiate between inbound and outbound transactions VI. Indirect Health Care Transactions Review the list of the typical general business EDI transactions (indirect health care transactions) Briefly describe each of the general business transactions Pictorially depict the flow of the indirect health care transactions amongst various business entities Differentiate between inbound and outbound transactions VII. ASC X12 834 Enrollment (Business) * What is the ASC X12 834? How is it used? Why is it used? Role of the 834 in business VIII. ASC X12 834 Enrollment (Technical) * Discuss purpose and utilization of transaction Discuss structure of transaction Review segments Review data elements Review Example IX. ASC X12 835 Claim Payment/Advice (Business) * What is the ASC X12 835? How is it used? Why is it used? What is EFT? Role of the 835 in business X. ASC X12 835 Claim Payment/Advice (Technical) * Discuss purpose and utilization of transaction Discuss structure of transaction Review segments Review data elements Discuss Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Review Example XI. ASC X12 837 Claim (Business) * What is the ASC X12 837? How is it used? Why is it used? What is COB? Role of the 837 in business XII. ASC X12 837 Claim (Technical) * Discuss purpose and utilization of transaction Discuss structure of transaction Review segments Review data elements Discuss Co-ordination of Benefits (COB) Review Example XIII. ASC X12 270/271 Claim (Business) * What are the ASC X12 270 and the ASC X12 271? How are they used? Why are they used? Health Care Service scenario of the future Role of the 270/271 in business XIV. ASC X12 270/271 Eligibility Request/Response (Technical) * Discuss purpose and utilization of transaction Discuss structure of transaction Review segments Review data elements Review Example XV. Electronic Data Interchange Case Studies Discuss EDI case studies Define components of successful implementations Identify things to avoid Identify Costs Identify Benefits XVI. Electronic Data Interchange in Health Care Discuss "Players" Review Direct and Indirect Health Care Transactions Discuss anticipated requirements Identify Costs Identify Benefits XVII. Electronic Commerce Philosophy Discuss Electronic Commerce technologies Discuss integration of technologies Discuss Virtual Corporation concept Discuss messaging Discuss maximization of benefits XVIII. Electronic Data Interchange Philosophy Discuss concept of Seamless Processing Discuss integration of EDI with Application systems Discuss full realization of benefits Discuss Proactive/Reactive postures Discuss utilizing EDI for competitive advantage XIX. Electronic Data Interchange and Health Care Reform Discuss EDI and Health Care Reform/Congress/Administration Discuss Health Care Identification Card Discuss Interactive Scenarios Discuss the Direct Health Care Transactions Discuss the Indirect Health Care Transactions XX. The Future Discuss Conversational and Interactive EDI Discuss CHMIS/CHIN Discuss the National Network; Electronic Highway Discuss EDI and MTS XXI. EDI and BPR Discuss business process re-engineering Discuss the utilization of EDI in BPR Discuss the utilization of EC in BPR XXII. EDIFACT - Business Overview Explain EDIFACT Discuss the business reasons in migrating to EDIFACT Discuss the Alignment Plan to EDIFACT Provide a historical background on EDIFACT Describe the differences between X12 and EDIFACT Describe the EDIFACT protocol XXIII. EDIFACT - Technical Overview Explain message formats Explain segments, data elements, composite data elements, etc. Map a business document to an X12 transaction and to an EDIFACT message Explain data maintenance procedures within EDIFACT Explain statusing of messages XXIV. Implementation Discuss analyzing the corporation for business needs Discuss the steps involved in completing a Needs Assessment Discuss the trading/ business partner concept Discuss integration of EDI into a business direction Discuss formulation of a strategy, policies and procedures Discuss formulation of a corporate focal point for EDI/ EC Education White Paper 1 2/6/95 "DRAFT FOR COMMENTS" Education White Paper 2/6/95 "DRAFT FOR COMMENTS" Education White Paper 16 2/6/95 "DRAFT FOR COMMENTS"