Two standards approved for pharmacy billing

          For those who do not follow ancient history (more than 2 years on the Internet) of the Free and Open Source health software movement, I got my start with FreeB, which was the first GPL medical billing engine. It was designed to help address the medical bill formatting problem. If you are not sure what that means then you should read the interview I gave to LinuxMedNews called Fred Trotter on Medical Billing, much of it is still relevant.

So I got started with medical billing and I am still interested in it.

Joseph Conn (a reporter to follow if you are interested in Health IT) has just written an article detailing how HHS (who sets the billing standards in the U.S.) will allow two different standards for certain pharmacy billing systems.  This is the kind of thing that give me headaches, even though it is unlikely that I will need to support the new standards.

Part of the problem is that X12 is an old-school EDI transfer standard. It is hardly human readable, and it is pretty intimidating for the end-user. Much better would be an xml-based system.