Tech Industry

Pac Bell opens e-commerce unit

A new electronic commerce unit will create a system for the health care market.

Pacific Bell is putting money on e-commerce, with the announcement of a new department: the Electronic Commerce unit.

Pacific Bell Network Integration, a subsidiary of Pac Bell, will create its first Net commerce system for the health care market. The unit will also develop more applications to allow businesses to extend internal networks and to offer secure transactions to customers or suppliers.

"Given the intense need in the healthcare industry to move rapidly to electronic interchange of administrative and clinical information, it was a clear decision to make the health care market our priority," Gwen Edwards, vice president of Pacific Bell's Health Care Market Group said in a statement.

"We've focused on health care market for almost four years, and stand ready to deliver a full portfolio of enhanced health care-specific infrastructure," she added.

PBNI already offers intranet and Internet connectivity vendors, including Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, Checkpoint, Netscape, Ascend, and Kentrox.

The e-commerce service will be sold through local Pacific Bell account teams, availability is expected by the middle of the year.

"We will distinguish the delivery of this offering with integrated customer care that provides our customers with one-stop shopping for a seamless, secure solution," Mari Tangredi, PBNI Electronic Commerce vice president said.

Many health insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, and various care networks have already made their way onto the Net.

InsWeb, MedAccess, and Aetna and U.S. Healthcare offer HMO information and services online.

Healtheon goes one step further, automating the enrollment and management of health plans and helping providers set up online billing.