The transaction standards will apply only to electronic data interchange (EDI) -- when data are transmitted electronically between health care providers and health plans as part of a standard transaction. Data may be stored in any format as long as it can be translated into the standard transaction when required. Security standards, on the other hand, will apply to all health care information.
To comply with the transaction standards, health care providers and health plans may exchange the standard transactions directly, or they may contract with a clearinghouse to perform this function. Clearinghouses may receive non-standard transactions from a provider, but they must convert these into standard transactions for submission to the health plan. Similarly, if a health plan contracts with a clearinghouse, the health plan may submit non-standard transactions to the clearinghouse, but the clearinghouse must convert these into standard transactions for submission to the provider.