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 DALLAS, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- IASD Health Services, which provides services as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and South Dakota Blue Cross, has negotiated a 10-year, $200-million agreement that makes EDS its strategic information technology partner into the next century.
 Under the contract, EDS will actively participate on IASD's Information Systems Division planning council, which oversees strategic technology development for the Plan. EDS' consulting group will assist in re-engineering IASD's current business processes to best take advantage of evolving changes in the health care system. Additionally, EDS will develop and implement advanced information systems to automate the insurer's workflow and perform administrative and management functions.
 "With the current evolution in health care, using technology to better manage information is critical to controlling costs and improving quality of and access to care," said Craig Hennesy, IASD chief operating officer. "Working in partnership with EDS allows us to focus on meeting our customers' needs -- providing better products and services -- in the most cost-effective manner."
 IASD Health Services is the largest health insurer in Iowa and South Dakota and ranks in the top third of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in the country. IASD recently announced its intent to merge with Blue Shield of Illinois, another EDS customer, creating one of the strongest Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in the nation. IASD processes nearly 15 million claims and pays more than $921 million in health care benefits for more than 1.1 million Iowans and South Dakotans annually. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa has been an EDS customer for more than 20 years, originally contracting for Medicare Part B claims processing.
 "EDS has consistently proven its abilities to provide advanced technology solutions that inject a high level of efficiency into our operations," Hennesy continued. "We chose EDS as our technology partner based on its past performance, and its willingness to adapt to our needs in a rapidly changing health care system."
 One example of the automated processes EDS will be initiating is the implementation of an advanced intelligent character recognition (ICR) system at the insurer's Des Moines facility. The ICR system, which uniquely incorporates neural network technology from Symbus Technology of Waltham, Mass., electronically processes information and automates workflows that traditionally have been managed via paper systems and manual data entry functions.
 Other planned technology investments include development and implementation of a client-server architecture to support an improved customer service system, and integration of cost-containment solutions to reduce administrative costs by eliminating expensive manual claims review and providing consistent, accurate medical policy administration.
 "As the health care market evolves, it is clear that the seamless transfer of information among all players is critical to reducing costs and improving the quality of care," said Terry Conner, EDS division vice president. "Technology is a key element in that process. We can best serve our customers by applying advanced technologies to manage and improve access to administrative and clinical data. Our partnership with IASD Health Services demonstrates EDS' role as a strategic technology resource to help our customers thrive in the evolving health care system."
 EDS is the largest provider of information technology and management services to the health care industry. With operations in more than 30 countries, EDS employs more than 70,000 people and is the leader in applying information technology to meet the needs of businesses and governments around the globe. Stock reflecting EDS' performance is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GME. EDS reported revenues of $8.2 billion in 1992.
 -0- 8/3/93
 /CONTACT: Roger Still of EDS, 214-604-4160/

CO: Electronic Data Systems; IASD Health Services ST: Texas, Iowa, South Dakota IN: CPR INS SU: CON

SB -- DE010 -- 8814 08/03/93 10:29 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 3, 1993

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