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Electronic Data Interchange

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a general term which refers to the transfer of business data between two companies' computers. It differs from more common methods of data transfer such as email, in that it doesn't involve human users executing the transfer. Purchase orders from buyers and invoices from suppliers may be exchanged without the need for staff to input information received from the outside party.

ANSI, EDIFACT, TRADACOMS and ebXML are common EDI formats. Electronic Data Interchange, American National Standards Institute X12 is the most widely used. An example of an EDI X12 file is posted below. Two or three letter codes identify different segments listed on different lines. An asterisk (*) is usually used as a separator.

The ST shown on the fourth line of the code identifies it as a particular time of transaction. There will be a separate ST code for each transaction. See the list of codes posted here:

ST*837 is used for health care claims. It is a specific EDI standard mandated by HIPAA. Software is available which will facilitate the review of EDI files. See this example from the EDI Academy which gives you descriptions of the codes used in the file.

ISA*01*0000000000*01*0000000000*ZZ*ABCDEFGHIJKLMNO*ZZ*123456789012345*101127*1719*U*00400*000003438*0*P*> GS*HC*99999999999*888888888888*20111219*1340*1377*X*005010X222 ST*837*0001*005010X222 BHT*0019*00*565743*20110523*154959*CH NM1*41*2*SAMPLE INC*****46*496103 PER*IC*EDI DEPT*EM**TE*3305551212 NM1*40*2*PPO BLUE*****46*54771 HL*1**20*1 PRV*BI*PXC*333600000X NM1*85*2*EDI SPECIALTY SAMPLE*****XX*123456789 N3*1212 DEPOT DRIVE N4*CHICAGO*IL*606930159 REF*EI*300123456 HL*2*1*22*1 SBR*P********BL NM1*IL*1*CUSTOMER*KAREN****MI*YYX123456789 N3*228 PINEAPPLE CIRCLE N4*CORA*PA*15108 DMG*D8*19630625*M NM1*PR*2*PPO BLUE*****PI*54771 N3*PO BOX 12345 N4*CAMP HILL*PA*17089 HL*3*2*23*0 PAT*19 NM1*QC*1*CUSTOMER*COLE N3*228 PINEAPPLE CIRCLE N4*CORA*PA*15108 DMG*D8*19940921*M CLM*945405*5332.54***12>B>1*Y*A*Y*Y*P HI*BK>2533 LX*1 SV1*HC>J2941*5332.54*UN*84***1 DTP*472*RD8*20110511-20110511 REF*6R*1099999731 NTE*ADD*GENERIC 12MG CARTRIDGE LIN**N4*00013264681 CTP****7*UN NM1*DK*1*PATIENT*DEBORAH****XX*12345679030 N3*123 MAIN ST*APT B N4*PITTSBURGH*PA*152181871 SE*39*0001 GE*1*1377 IEA*1*000001377

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