Aetna, Anthem, IBM, Health Care Service Corporation and PNC Bank have partnered to create a blockchain technology network aimed at improving transparency and interoperability in the healthcare industry.
The groups intend to use blockchain for more efficient claims and payment processing. Blockchain enables the secure exchange of information. It will also benefit more accurate provider directories.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Collaboration is key in the industry as a more cost-effective alternative to merging to create more competitive and efficient systems.
The current network is expected to add additional health organizations in the coming months, including providers, startups, and technology companies.
Initial members include three of the nation's largest insurers, Anthem; HCSC,a customer-owned health insurer that includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans; Aetna, which is now part of the CVS Health business; IBM, which is a leading blockchain provider; and PNC Bank, which is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group.
Blockchain technology gives health systems an edge because it ideally creates faster, more efficient and secure claims and payment processing.
Insurers are mandated to maintain accurate provider directories, a time consuming and often manual practice involving numerous emails, phone calls and even fax exchanges.
For providers, a new technology that can actually reduce time spent in administrative clicks on a computer is a boon.
Despite major initiatives to digitize healthcare information, improvements in transparency and interoperability are still needed for that data to be shared.
Blockchain is designed to fill that role, reducing administrative errors and costs and ultimately enhancing patient care. The network also enables the companies to build and deploy new solutions.
Walmart last year filed a patent to use blockchain for medical records. A pharmaceutical industry consortium called the MediLedger Project, launched in 2017, is using blockchain to track pills across the supply chain, according to Fortune.
ON THE RECORD
"Through the application of blockchain technology, we'll work to improve data accuracy for providers, regulators, and other stakeholders, and give our members more control over their own data," said Claus Jensen, chief technology officer at Aetna
Rajeev Ronanki, Anthem chief digital officer Rajeev Ronanki: "Timely access to medical information has been a stumbling block for creating a seamless consumer experience. With a trusted foundation based on transparency and cryptography, we will provide a faster, safer and more secure way to exchange medical information to transform the consumer healthcare experience."
What's more, blockchain will enable large networks to exchange health data in a transparent and controlled way, according to Lori Steele, general manager for Healthcare and Life Sciences for IBM.
"Using this technology, we can remove friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry," added Chris Ward, head of product, PNC Treasury Management.
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