Processing workers' compensation insurance involves participation and input from many parties, the majority of whom operate from multiple and disparate operating systems.As a result, the emergence of Web-based, real-time data exchange solutions has become imperative. In some ways, workers' comp is not unlike the processing required for an auto claim, which involves data exchange efficiencies between adjusters, auto repair shops, car rental agencies and more.

"Web services is the key to better workers' compensation processing," says Randy Wheeler, CEO and founder of Valley Oak Systems, a San Ramon, Calif.-based provider of claims management software. "With workers' comp, there are lots of parties operating from disparate systems. There are time lags in processing that undermine the process. This also works against the whole mission of workers' comp in the first place-to get people back to work more quickly."

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