Taking the Pulse of the Healthcare Industry

ATLANTA, April 1, 1999 — Electronic data interchange (EDI) and e-commerce, controlling costs, integrating systems and Y2K readiness are top priorities for the healthcare industry, and survey results released today at the National Managed Health Care Congress (NMHCC) in Atlanta provide a clearer picture of how the industry is dealing with these issues. Working with NMHCC , Sheldon I. Dorenfest & Associates, and Data General, Microsoft surveyed 450 health care providers, technology vendors and managed care organizations at the 11th annual NMHCC conference, “checking the pulse” of the industry on information technology matters such as electronic data interchange (EDI) and e-commerce, Y2K readiness, cost management, outcomes management, and IT integration.

Year 2000 Readiness: 63% of the survey respondents said their organizations were ready for Y2K, and 88% said they had contingency plans in effect for equipment, facilities, applications and interfaces. However, 50% of respondents are still in the implementation stage, while 14% are just beginning the awareness stage.

Managing Costs: 83% of the managed care organizations surveyed say they have a process to address cost controls. 65% use priority setting to contain their costs, and 85% consider this to be somewhat or very effective. Those that said priority setting was ineffective attributed this to dynamically changing priorities. Other cost control measures used include profiling and forecasting/trending processes.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and e-commerce: 17% of the survey respondents currently use the Internet for provider transactions, and most respondents believed that the Internet should be used for EDI and e-commerce transactions and remote physician access. 38% plan to move to Internet or Web-based EDI within 12 months. 32% will move to EDI within 36 months; 25 % have no plans and 5% are currently using the Internet for EDI.22% claimed that a lack of in-house expertise is a major barrier to implementing EDI, while 19% cited a lack of provider sophistication.

Microsoft’s Commitment to the Healthcare Industry

This survey is part of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to the healthcare industry; the results will help independent software vendors meet the specific technology needs of the industry, and they will assist Microsoft in providing a standardized, reliable and scalable platform – the “building blocks” on which ISVs can build customized solutions for healthcare.

Among these “building blocks” is ActiveX for Healthcare, a framework for building an integrated system using applications from various software companies. Based on Microsoft’s COM technology, ActiveX for Healthcare provides “plug-and-play” interoperability between various applications, creating a consistent, uniform interface – which can dramatically reduce costs while increasing productivity.

Microsoft and Data General also established the Healthcare Solutions Center, a laboratory that will allow software developers, integrators and healthcare organizations to test the scalability, performance and interoperability of applications built on Microsoft and Data General technology.

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