IBM, Microsoft Offer HIPAA Help

New technology aims to help organizations meet requirements of 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

IBM and Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced new technology to help organizations prepare and meet the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., announced its WebSphere Business Integration for HIPAA, which will be the centerpiece of IBMs HIPAA Readiness Solution portfolio, which the company targets at health care and insurance companies. HIPAA regulations call for companies to protect the privacy of individuals when moving, accessing and sharing data and transactions related to the health care business.

IBMs WebSphere Business Integration for HIPAA focuses on the integration of health care-related business processes, the company said. When delivered later this quarter, the technology will feature actual HIPAA content such as templates for processing transactions, IBM said. And IBMs WebSphere Business Integration for HIPAA will translate HIPAA-based EDI (electronic data interchange) transactions into various legacy application formats, the company said.

Other components of IBMs HIPAA portfolio include products and services such as IBMs Tivoli security management software, IBM eServer and IBM Mindspan HIPAA Training Solution, featuring strategies for complying with health care regulations.

Meanwhile, at the Fifth National HIPAA Summit in Baltimore, Microsoft announced its BizTalk Accelerator for HIPAA 2.0, an integration tool aimed at helping organizations comply with HIPAA regulations and lower the cost of handling HIPAA claims and transactions.

Like IBMs offering, Microsofts BizTalk Accelerator for HIPAA features ready-made templates for handling HIPAA claims and a Trading Partner Manager for dealing with partners.

Microsofts product reduces cost delays and the administrative work that accompanies the clinical documentation inherent in claims for payments, said officials with the Redmond, Wash., company.

Microsoft said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana is using the Microsoft BizTalk Accelerator and is an early adopter for version 2.0, which will be available by Dec. 1, according to company officials.

Microsoft is leveraging its XML expertise in the BizTalk Accelerator for HIPAA 2.0 product, the company said. The product works by translating HIPAA-based EDI data into XML for processing. The software giant is partnering with systems integrators and independent software vendors to promote and deliver its HIPAA solution, company officials said.

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