Microsoft Helps Healthcare Organizations Acquire Extension For HIPAA Implementation Deadline

ATLANTA, Jan. 28, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a comprehensive offering, code-named “Nightingale,” created to help healthcare organizations request an extension of the October 2002 implementation deadline for the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) electronic transaction regulations. “Nightingale” also will help healthcare organizations implement these regulations quickly and easily. Microsoft made the announcement at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference and Exhibit in Atlanta along with Washington Publishing Co. (WPC), a domain expert and exclusive publisher of the X12N implementation guides adopted under HIPAA, as well as two systems integrators.

The “Nightingale” offering includes training about the impact HIPAA will have on the healthcare landscape; consulting services to help organizations develop plans to comply with HIPAA regulations; Microsoft’s software solution for HIPAA transaction-standard compliance, the Microsoft®
BizTalk (TM) Accelerator for HIPAA; WPC’s OnlyConnect Gap Analysis Tool; and a live testing environment hosted by Microsoft in which customers can send and receive test transactions by April 2003, as mandated by the government.

Although the government is requiring that healthcare organizations implement the HIPAA transaction set standards by Oct. 16, 2002, President Bush recently signed a bill into law granting that an extension may be given to requesting organizations if they can provide a solid plan for delivering on the mandate by October 2003. Microsoft, WPC and two systems integrators have formed a strategic relationship in which they will work with customers to file for this deadline extension, if necessary, and create and implement a plan to help customers reduce the development time and complexity of their HIPAA solutions. Pricing for the complete offering has been set at $65,000.

“Microsoft BizTalk Accelerator for HIPAA became generally available in October, and since then we have seen great interest from healthcare organizations pleased to find a HIPAA solution that can be implemented quickly and easily,” said David Lubinski, general manager of healthcare at Microsoft. “Many of these organizations still have a good deal of work to do to become HIPAA-compliant. Assisting customers with the deadline extension gives them breathing room to make meaningful improvements in workflow and administrative efficiency as well as meet HIPAA requirements.”

Lisa Miller, WPC’s chief operating officer, said, “Healthcare organizations are concerned about meeting even the later deadline. They need the right tools and services to assess their HIPAA readiness. The OnlyConnect Gap Analysis Tool, one aspect of WPC’s participation in ‘Nightingale,’ establishes a system to manage the changes necessary for HIPAA compliance as the transaction standards evolve. This structured gap analysis will eliminate the need for a completely new analysis each year, and thereby yield for healthcare organizations a substantial return on their original investment.”

Microsoft also recently became a benefactor-level member of Health Level Seven (HL7), a healthcare standards organization aimed at streamlining the exchange, management and integration of data in the healthcare industry. This is the highest level of membership an organization can attain and shows Microsoft’s commitment to industry standards and the work HL7 is doing for the healthcare industry. To highlight HL7 innovations, Microsoft will participate in an interoperability demonstration with a few other HL7 members at HIMSS in booth 2433. The demonstration will showcase the integration between the proposed HIPAA transactions and HL7 and support for emerging HL7 standards such as the XML-based HL7 Version 3.0 messaging standard.

The BizTalk Accelerator for HIPAA enables healthcare organizations of all sizes to interoperate and integrate among multiple platforms, interfaces and business processes to quickly implement and continuously maintain HIPAA standards. It also helps organizations reduce the amount of time and money they need to spend to comply with HIPAA regulations.

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