Tech giant IBM, a leading enterprise blockchain provider, has announced a collaboration to build a blockchain-based ecosystem for the healthcare industry. The new network will allow members to share resources and streamline payment processes, optimize claims processing, maintain current and accurate provider directories and implement efficient information exchanges.
Members include Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation and PNC Bank. Their goal is to drive digital processes and reduce fragmentation of information across the industry. By building a highly collaborative blockchain-based network, the companies plan to slash burdensome tasks and redundant costs, and boost transparency and interoperability.
Says Lori Steele, general manager for Healthcare and Life Sciences for IBM,
“Blockchain’s unique attributes make it suitable for large networks of members to quickly exchange sensitive data in a permissioned, controlled, and transparent way. The fact that these major healthcare players have come together to collaborate indicates the value they see in working together to explore new models that we think could drive more efficiency in the healthcare system and ultimately improve the patient experience.”
Another key objective is improving data management. Says Claus Jensen, chief technology officer at Aetna, a CVS Health business,
“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.”
Rajeev Ronanki, chief digital officer of Anthem, says timely access to medical information has been a stumbling block.
“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.”
According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Health Care Outlook report, global healthcare spending is expected to soar at an annual rate of 5.4% between 2017-2022 to $10.059 trillion, up from $7.724 trillion.
“Health care providers are stressing rigorous financial management, efficient operational performance, outcomes-based care, and innovative solutions development. These could result in improved care provision, reduced costs, counter declining margins, and aligned cost structure and care models with reimbursement trends and payment models. Developing public-private partnerships, investing in prevention and well-being, and learning from industries outside of health care will also be key.”