Health-Care Payers, Providers Racing to Adopt Web-Based Solutions; Increased Customer Satisfaction Seen as Major Goal

REDMOND, Wash., June 9, 2000 — The nation’s health-care payers and providers are racing to move their business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions to the Web, and consumers could be the big beneficiaries, according to the results of a leading managed-care industry study released today.

The second annual NMHCC Healthcare IT Survey — sponsored by Microsoft Corp., National Managed Health Care Congress (NMHCC), Sheldon I. Dorenfest & Associates Ltd. and Compaq Computer Corp. — showed that for payers and providers, moving their B2B and B2C transactions to the Web was the highest IT priority. Payers projected a near doubling of B2C transactions on the Web during the upcoming year and a more than 50 percent increase in their B2B transactions. Providers followed closely, projecting a nearly 90 percent increase in B2C transactions and a 40 percent increase in B2B transactions.

Beyond IT priorities, health-care payers and providers also shared the same business priorities: improved customer satisfaction, quality of care, profitability, market share and physician satisfaction. More than any other benefit, respondents were looking to the Web to help boost customer satisfaction. Respondents also cited other top business concerns, including meeting new legislative requirements such as HIPAA.

Increasing electronic data interchange (EDI) over the Web and boosting intranet and infrastructure interoperability were also among the top IT priorities for both payers and providers, according to the survey, which is a leading study to identify top trends and understand IT challenges in managed care.

“Through this joint effort, we are delivering the most comprehensive, cutting-edge information to players in the managed-care industry, helping drive the most cost-effective and flexible technology solutions,”
said Susan Ralston, health-care industry manager at Microsoft.
“We understand that payers and providers are seeking Web-based solutions that will help them improve customer satisfaction, enhance quality of care and reduce health-care costs, and we’re dedicated to helping them meet these goals.”

“Payers and providers showed striking similarities in their responses, regarding both the business challenges they face and the IT goals they have to help meet those challenges,”
said Ken Norton, group marketing manager at NMHCC.
“This suggests that interoperability among technology solutions, especially via the Web, could be a key to meeting the health-care industry’s priorities.”

“The survey indicates that payers and providers are listening to the demands of their constituencies for easier and more cost-effective methods for capturing and communicating information within an otherwise fragmented and uncoordinated health-care setting,”
said Tom Johnson, vice president, Sheldon I. Dorenfest & Associates.
“Other methods of accomplishing the same objective took too long and required too much change in the health-care delivery process, so the industry is seeking alternative methods, such as the Web.”

“The results of this survey are very encouraging because they clearly underscore Compaq’s business vision of Everything to the Internet,”
said Dave Parsons, health-care vice president, Compaq.
“There’s no question that the health-care industry will realize significant benefits by using the Internet as a versatile, effective and efficient business communications tool. Compaq is committed to making marked improvements to our nation’s health-care system by continuing to lead the way with powerful electronic commerce solutions.”

Compared with 1999 results, the survey showed a 50 percent increase in the number of payers and providers who use the Web to meet their EDI needs, and that an additional 40 percent plan to shift to the Internet later this year. When asked what the impact of the Internet would be on their integration strategies, 32 percent said it would enable easier integration of disparate systems. Twenty-two percent said all their transactions will be Web-based, and an additional 13 percent said the Web would provide a common front-end strategy.

The survey was conducted April 17-18 in Atlanta among thousands of attendees at NMHCC 2000, the nation’s largest managed-care industry conference. Full survey results are available on the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/industry/health/news/nmhcc2000.asp , http://www.nmhcc.org/ , and http://www.dorenfest.com/ .

About NMHCC

The National Managed Health Care Congress is dedicated to producing high-quality annual conferences and expositions in the health-care industry. NMHCC is the leading source of timely, cutting-edge information on important issues, trends and events impacting health care today. NMHCC events offer a unique opportunity for professionals at all levels and across all disciplines within the health-care industry to learn and network. A complete show listing can be found at http://www.nmhcc.org/ .

About Dorenfest & Associates

Sheldon I. Dorenfest & Associates Ltd. is the industry leader in researching, collecting and providing knowledge about health-care information technology. Formed in 1976, Dorenfest & Associates, through its databases, market reports and analytical services, disseminates a wide variety of information to the health-care industry about information technology use in health care.

About Compaq

Compaq Computer Corp., a Fortune Global 100 company, is the largest supplier of computing systems in the world. Compaq designs, develops, manufactures and markets hardware, software, solutions and services, including industry-leading enterprise computing solutions, fault-tolerant business-critical solutions, and communications products, commercial desktop and portable products, and consumer PCs for the NonStop Internet world.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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