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RealTime IT News

Getting Healthcare Healthy

Both Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. Monday launched new initiatives aimed at providing technology to help the healthcare industry standardize its administrative processes and reduce paperwork.

Microsoft delivered the BizTalk Server Accelerator for HIPAA -- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act - which mandates that the healthcare industry get its paperwork house in order.

Sun meanwhile announced stepped-up efforts for the development and deployment of advanced technology solutions for the healthcare industry, saying that it it wants to "safely and securely ascend from the quicksand of existing IT infrastructures to the rock-solid technology platform requirements of the Net economy."

By Oct. 16, 2002, all covered healthcare organizations will need to be able to submit and receive HIPAA-compliant transactions.

The announcements from both companies came at the annual meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in New Orleans.

Microsoft, in conjunction with Washington Publishing Co., a domain expert and exclusive publisher of the HIPAA implementation guides, said its BizTalk Server Accelerator for HIPAA will help the healthcare industry build standards-based technology solutions.

"The combination of Microsoft's technical expertise and WPC's position as publisher of the HIPAA Implementation Guides ensures that customers will have the clearest path to HIPAA compliance," said Lisa Miller, chief technical officer for Washington Publishing.

The BizTalk Server Accelerator for HIPAA, which will be interoperable with legacy systems, is expected to be available during the second quarter of 2001. Pricing is yet to be determined.

"It's no secret healthcare organizations are under fire to securely manage vast amounts of complex, and often confidential, patient information, before the HIPAA time bomb detonates," said Murtz Kizilbash, manager for Sun Microsystems global sales organization in healthcare.

Sun said it has assembled veterans from its think-tanks and product groups across the company to focus on packaging security products, services and solutions for the healthcare industry.

As an example of what it can do, Sun said it has joined with XCare.net help create the backbone of MedUnite's payor-to-provider portal. Sun said its technology has also been used to help develop MDanywhere's system for delivering clinical information to physicians anytime, anywhere over browser-based and hand-held wireless devices.