Web services cut state health costs
A Web service application being developed by the state
of South Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will save
taxpayers $1 million a year in postage, according to Paul Gowder, Webmaster for the project.
The Web service application will replace mainframe printouts of Medicaid
payments, which can be as lengthy as 400 pages, with weekly Web reports that
hospitals and physicians can access through a new DHHS portal, explained
Authorized personnel at thousands of hospitals and medical clinics will be
able to view the reports through any standard Web browser, added John Loy,
senior network engineer at DHHS.
''That will be about $1 million in savings just in postage for us,'' he said.
''And that's not counting the labor involved. The quarterly reports to providers
on Medicaid claims were so voluminous they filled boxes.''
Programmers working with Gowder and Loy are using the Java-based Novell
exteNd tools as the Web application development platform. Working with Java is a
major transition for the state agency's development staff, which had been
working with Microsoft Visual Basic and other 4GL tools, Loy said.
Training is provided by consultants from BravePoint, an Atlanta-based systems
integrator partner for Novell, that helped with development of the Web portal
and is now assisting with the Web services applications, Gowder explained.
An initial Web services application already completed by BravePoint
consultants allows providers to look at the status of their claims online, Loy
said. It pulls claim information from a DHHS mainframe database and sends it to
the provider's Web browser, he explained.
Additional Web services applications in the works will provide Medicaid
patients with the ability to find clinics offering specialized services such as
dialysis, Gowder said, and also let those providers update information on their
services. The eventual goal is to provide DHHS personnel with secure mobile
access to patient information via Web services, he added.
Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.