SUN and the Medical Banking Project

<ed.note>This is an excerpt of John Hardin’s and Peter Berkman’s B2B Musings post of Sep 26, 2006</ed.note>

As we head for market leadership in the B2B space, there are lots of opportunities to provide direction and form new marketplace movements. One that is looking to be a truly disruptive set of activities is the newly emerging Medical Banking Project and it’s COMBAT Initiative. Lead by John Casillas, the Medical Banking Project (http://www.mbproject.org) is a think-tank and policy organization that is committed to helping banks understand and enter the medical data processing field.

Since banks handle payments for medical payers through a process called "lockbox", they view and process information about the medical care delivered to patients. Lockbox refers to processing paper checks for payers, essentially turning them into EDI payment processes. This activity forced banks to recognize that they are subject to HIPAA regulatory requirements.

Since banks are now subject to HIPAA, and since traditional healthcare data movement processes are so paper-intensive, slow and really not so efficient, the banks are looking to lead the healthcare data processing market into a real-time, "ATM-like" environment. Increasing the banks’ exposure and responsibilities in the medical data processing field is also the FSA / HSA health plan movement – which uses traditional bank accounts along with payment cards. So banks are positioned to become prime data-movers for healthcare, with consumers of that data on both the commercial side and the consumer side.

So banks both large and small (PNCBank, USBank, Wachovia, ABN/AMRO, Bank of America, etc), along with health plans / TPA’s (United Healthcare and others), and also some very large employers (Disney, Chrysler and others in the Automotive Industry) are all working together in the COMBAT initiative. COMBAT stands for "Cooperative Opensource Medical Banking Architecture and Technology". The mission is to "To combat the rising costs of healthcare using medical banking principles and technology." See more at http://www.mbproject.org/combat-homepage.php. The overall goal is to create and demonstrate a Proof of Concept which will be a long-living technology showcase for the nation.

Sun is now a member of the Medical Banking Project, and we are leading the way for the MBProject for technology to accomplish the goal. Turning the healthcare data market into a real-time "ATM-like" network will take some very large changes, but Sun’s Java CAPS and B2B teams are ready for the challenge. If you would like more information about the Medical Banking Project, it’s COMBAT project, or Sun B2B, please contact john.hardin@sun.com or peter.berkman@sun.com…

<ed.note>John Casillas notes in a recent email that Sun is a new, strategic member for MBProject and will help us to launch a centralized medical banking platform that can test/stage new standards. Sun Microsystems is dedicating two full time resources for the C.O.M.B.A.T. Initiative. The C.O.M.B.A.T. Platform will be hosted on a Sun Grid. MBP will be making announcements soon about C.O.M.B.A.T. meetings (including a planned workshop at the Institute chaired by HIMSS). </ed.note>