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Three Tips for Testing Your EDI System

EDI is critical to the success of many companies

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) allows businesses to send information to other businesses through electronic means instead of paper. A wide range of business documents can be sent with EDI, including invoices and purchase orders. Many companies prefer to use EDI because of the way it standardizes the process of exchanging business documents.

In an increasingly digital age, there is no question that EDI is critical to the success of many companies. However, to develop and maintain a successful EDI system, you must test it on a regular basis. Following are three tips for testing your EDI system to assist you with this process.

Familiarize Yourself with the Types of Compliance Testing
Different EDI systems must undergo different compliance tests to be deemed successful. While no single set of tests is appropriate for every system, it is important that EDI systems go through regular compliance testing. The most frequently used types of testing include the following:

  • Integrity testing. Integrity testing provides validation for a provider's EDI file's basic construction.
  • Implementation guide. A transaction's implementation guide has a number of requirements for EDI systems including data element values. This testing ensures that all requirements are being met.
  • Balancing testing. Summary-level data must show the same numbers as the corresponding detail-level data, as described in the transaction's implementation guide.
  • Inter-segment situation testing. Situation testing confirms the inter-segment scenarios described in the transaction's implementation guide. For example, if an employee is filing an accident claim, he or she must include a date for the accident in the report.
  • External code set testing. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)-mandated codes are described and regulated separately from prominent implementation guides such as the National Drug Code (NDC). This testing procedure confirms the set values for these codes.
  • Line of service or product type testing. The implementation guide details requirements for specialized services such as durable medical equipment (DME) that must be confirmed.
  • Trading partner-specific testing. Certain types of industries, such as healthcare, deal frequently with transactions that involve Medicaid and Medicare. All of these transactions must comply with HIPAA code sets and general compliance standards.

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), a private company with a focus on electronic transaction implementation, develops and regulates many of the commonly used types of EDI testing. Some types of EDI compliance testing, such as integrity testing and balancing testing, are also used as categories for edits that a translator performs.

Understand the Importance of Test Data and Privacy
One reason to use an electronic system for company data is to ensure a level of security and privacy that a company cannot provide with its own resources. As you consider 3 tips for testing your EDI system, privacy should be one of the highest priorities. Many companies believe that the use of real-life production data adds value to the testing process. All sensitive information, such as a hospital's patient contact information, must be removed from, or encrypted within, the test data that goes to a certification testing system unless the system itself meets HIPAA privacy and security standards.

Ensure that You Work with a Reputable Company
Top-notch EDI testing services companies can be a huge asset to the EDI testing process. They provide years of experience and state-of-the-art technology. They also have the skill set and tools needed to properly address any questions or concerns raised by you or your employees. Additional advantages of working with a reputable EDI testing service company include the following:

  • Test in a timely manner with more efficient and effective tools. A reputable service improves the quality of your trading partner data with testing resources that ensure clean EDI data.
  • Catch problems more quickly. One of the biggest issues that businesses face with EDI systems is not finding problems until late in a cycle. When a company finds and fixes a problem early, it maintains a higher quality of work and saves money.
  • Pay for the services that you need. Some EDI testing services offer on-demand delivery models. These models enable companies to customize their testing solutions to suit their needs and preferences.

More Stories By Timothy Wightman

Timothy Wightman is CEO/President of Effective Data, in Schaumburg, IL. Effective Data is a worldwide EDI provider and a leader in EDI consulting and data integration. Connect with Effective Data on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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