With the objective of developing an XML version of X12 EDI (electronic data interchange) transaction set 834 Benefit Enrollment and Maintenance, the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 (Alexandria, VA) and the Human Resources XML (HR-XML) Consortium (Raleigh, NC) havesigned a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on data standards development for the insurance/healthcare and human resources industries.
ASC X12 has built EDI transaction sets across many industries, explains David Barkley, elected chair, ASC X12. The transaction set that the organization has built for benefit enrollment and maintenance has been identified by the US Health and Human Services Department as the one required for HIPAA compliance. "One of the areas ASC X12 is focusing on is expanding how we define EDI and moving beyond strictly EDI transactions," says Barkley. "ASC X12 sees an opportunity to understand and build upon the work that HR-XML has done."
As a result of its affiliation with ASC X12, the HR XML Consortium is hoping a HIPAA exemption allowing its member organizations to use the Consortium's XML-based benefit enrollment specification for pilot testing will be granted, says HR-XML's director, Chuck Allen. "Testing of alternative standards has been cited as one route by which an exemption could be granted for groups wanting to pilot XML-based specifications," explains Allen. "Moreover, the results of such testing would be useful for ASC X12 in planning for eventual 'de jure' standards for benefit enrollment."