Practice Alternatives originally addressed this challenge by hand-coding a function that would translate the messages by looking up the codes and providing the description to users. However, it was a daunting task and the solution was not easily maintainable by someone who isn’t familiar with X12. Additionally, it meant keeping current on 90+ tables maintained by various outside entities, which could change at any time and with no notice.
This is when Practice Alternatives discovered that it could improve this conversion process with Progress® DataDirect®, a leading data connectivity solution for enterprises that need to better integrate data across relational, big data and cloud databases. Great Valley Technologies, a long-time Progress Application Partner, developed the Practice Alternatives billing solution, Rexpert, on the Progress OpenEdge® application development platform. After discussing the issue with a Progress account manager, the account manager pointed out that DataDirect could handle X12 messages with its converters for EDI.
“With DataDirect, everything we needed was right there,” explained Anne Disney, Lead Software Engineer, Great Valley Technologies. “It took an enormous weight off our shoulders.”
DataDirect converted the X12 string to JSON, which enabled Practice Alternatives to manipulate and translate the various pieces of data in a more efficient manner. Even more importantly, it provided text descriptions of all the codes in the X12 string. Practice Alternatives could take the translated message and put it into the HTML provided to the user, turning numerical codes into detailed descriptions written in plain English and displayed in a more user-friendly fashion.
“This is potentially a game-changer in allowing practices to collect monies upfront, which our experience shows us would otherwise be uncollectable,” added Luanne Wainwright, CEO, Practice Alternatives.
The integration process only took about one week, and Practice Alternatives has been in the process of rolling it out on a practice-by-practice basis.