Magazine article Risk Management

ASP for Workers' Comp

Magazine article Risk Management

ASP for Workers' Comp

Article excerpt

Web-based hosting of sophisticated software packages is a service whereby an application service provider (ASP) runs the application from a secure data center and users pay a monthly subscription fee. This fee may be per user, a flat monthly rate or transactional, based upon items processed. ASPs provide a one-to-many service via a secure Internet link, offering secure and redundant databases via technology that may be beyond the reach of most companies. They are a way for companies to outsource some or even all of their IT systems, enabling more focus on core business functions.

In most cases all that is required is an Internet connection and a browser, or a thin client. Since no application resides on the PC, it is easier and more cost-effective to control all application management tasks from a centrally located, professionally managed data center. Because connectivity is so easy, a company's vendors can get online to see and manage data in real time. So when a provider gets online and enters a bill or an employer enters a First Report of Injury, the TPA or case manager sees it immediately. Providers can print their own Explanation of Benefits to review or update treatment plans. Even state governments can be connected. Just about anyone involved in the claim can be allowed online.

Most helpful is that everybody involved hits the same screens, which can contain complete edits so the data comes in correct the first time. And since the application is controlled from a central site, any changes are done once and available for all users immediately. If needed, connected parties can be allowed to download correct and edited data in a flat file layout of their choice via the Internet. Say good-bye to the electronic data interchange implementation manuals, the updates, the new American National Standard Institute versions and the hassles of maintaining a translator.

Eventually, as businesses realize application outsourcing is easier and cheaper than client-server systems, even large corporations will convert to Web-based software. Forrester Research, Inc. estimates that the market for Web-based applications will soar to $6 billion in sales by 2001. Earlier this year, the Application Service Provider Consortium (www.aspindustry.org) was founded by computing industry giants to promote the emerging ASP sector.

In an industry where rapid management of an injury claim equates to getting the best care for the injured worker and saving the employer money, real savings are there for the taking both in acquiring the data immediately and cleanly in real time and by outsourcing IT functions that get in the way of a company's core business focus. …

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