ATLANTA National Data Corp. said it has signed a contract to provide communications and related payment services to the 15,000 members of the Canadian Dental Association.
National Data called the deal "the most comprehensive and innovative mixture of electronic communication value-added services provided to the Canadian health care community."
The Atlanta-based networking company joins a host of others, ranging from credit data firms like Equifax and Card Establishment Services to financial institutions like Chase Manhattan Corp. and Bane One Corp., exploring ways to link health care billings, insurance claims, and electronic payments.
In the Canadian system, National Data expects to include credit and debit card processing.
National Data's service will be provided via CDAnet, the Canadian Dental Association's electronic claims processing network, and marketed un- der the name CDAnet Plus.
NDC's subsidiary, National Data Corporation of Canada Ltd., will provide the electronic credit card and check authorization services. The move will streamline office management practices and provide an effective alternative to paper-based payment systems, the company said.
Other services offered on the CDAnet Plus network include electronic mail and bulletin board, and other personal and professional financial services. In a second phase, on-line order entry and electronic library services will be developed, as well as direct debit and electronic funds transfer services.
NDC and. MPACT/Immedia, a leading Canadian provider of E-mail and electronic communication services, will jointly provide the new on-line services. Through a host computer system, every dentist registering with CDAnet Plus will be assigned an electronic mailbox for receiving specific E-mail messages from fellow dentists or messages from association headquarters. Dentists can send secure messages from their own personal computers to any other mailbox, or group of mailboxes, on the system.
Electronic Library Mailbox
To obtain information from the bulletin board service, dentists can simply dial in and enter a command. To find information on specific topics, such as new procedures in oral surgery, they can send their requests through an electronic library mailbox. The CDA librarian conducts an information search and forwards the relevant data.
Electronic financial services offered by many Canadian banks will also be available.
National Data was chosen after a "a lengthy selection process," said Dr. Bernie Dolansky, CDAnet committee chairman. "NDC is a proven systems integrator and is very knowledgeable regarding electronic communications and related financial services in Canada."
Mig Migirdicyan, president of National Data's Canadian subsidiary, said this is the first time that electronic messaging services have been marketed to a national health care association. "We plan to expand these kinds of services to other customers," he added.