IBM Teams Up With Healthcare Firms for Blockchain Initiative

The five companies are primarily aiming to reduce administrative costs using blockchain.

United States-based health insurance giant Aetna, Anthem, and Health Care Service Corporation has partnered with IBM and financial services company PNC Bank to develop a blockchain network for the healthcare industry.

“The aim is to create an inclusive blockchain network that can benefit multiple members of the healthcare ecosystem in a secure, shared environment,” the companies stated. The joint effort by the firms will “allow the blockchain network to enable healthcare companies to build, share and deploy solutions that drive digital transformation in the industry.”

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In the initial phase of the project, the companies will identify use cases to demonstrate the usefulness of the technology for secure healthcare data exchange.

”We are committed to improving the healthcare consumer experience and making our healthcare system work more effectively,” said Aetna Chief Technology Officer Claus Jensen. “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.”

Down the line of the development process, the companies are planning to add additional members ranging from providers to developers in the consortium.

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Commenting on the collaboration, Chris Ward, treasury management head of product at PNC, said: “This alliance will enable healthcare-related data and business transactions to occur in [a] way that addresses market demands for transparency and security while making it easier for the patient, payer, and provider to handle payments.”

“Using this technology, we can remove friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry.”

Expansive Maintainance

Data management in the healthcare industry is very crucial as well as expensive. Last month, Athena, a subsidiary of CVS Health Corporation, joined the Synaptic Health Alliance to test the pilot blockchain-based healthcare data management solutions. The consortium is trying to improve the accuracy of provider directories, a solution which needs $2.1 billion to maintain, according to reports.

Considering the massive base of the partnering companies, this project will make a huge impact on the healthcare industry. Athena alone covers more than 40 million people in the US, whereas the other two insurers provide coverage to 55 million people combined.

Though blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare sector, the constraints with the access to clinical data are creating major setbacks.

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