UnitedHealth, Humana and Three Others Form Healthcare Blockchain Alliance to Reduce the $2.1 Billion Spent Annually
Exploring the potential of blockchain to transform healthcare
Blockchain Could Transform Healthcare
Blockchain technology has the potential to transform healthcare. A Deloitte analysis hinted at a new blockchain-based model for health information exchanges (HIE) which could make electronic medical records more efficient and secure. Blockchain has the potential to increase the security, privacy, and interoperability of the healthcare ecosystem.
Five-Member US Healthcare Blockchain Alliance
A very recent application of the above can be seen in the US. On April 2nd, five US-based healthcare companies announced that they have formed a healthcare blockchain alliance aimed at improving the quality and reducing the costs associated with changes in demographic data. The project would ensure that the most current healthcare provider information is available in health plan provider directories. Parties to the alliance include Humana (HUM), MultiPlan, Quest Diagnostics (DGX), UnitedHealth Group’s (UNH) Optum and UnitedHealthcare.
To Reduce the $2.1 Billion Spent Annually
The technology would enable consumers looking for care with accurate information when they need. In the current system, hospitals, physicians, diagnostic centers and other healthcare stakeholders maintain separate copies of healthcare data. So, health claims are often delayed due to a mismatch in data provided by claimants and the actual records. Reconciliation of the records in times of need is what makes this process both time-consuming and expensive. About $2.1 billion is spent annually across the healthcare system chasing and maintaining provider data, according to industry estimates. It is also estimated that over 50% of US doctor directories contain incorrect information.
“The pilot will examine how sharing data across healthcare organizations on blockchain technology can improve data accuracy, streamline administration and improve access to care”
– joint statement (April 2).
The pilot will use blockchain technology for the five members of the alliance to share the curated information.
IBM Also Believes in the Potential Benefits
IBM (IBM) too, has identified several benefits that could accrue in the healthcare sector through the implementation of blockchain technology. Blockchain platforms can support the entire life cycle of a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR). Regulatory requirements, authenticity trust issues, and security concerns are some of the major barriers to information sharing in the healthcare sector presently. Blockchain can remove the problems of unclear data ownership, thereby improving data integrity and peer-to-peer accountability. Patient consent can be accurately captured using tailored consent provisions, and since they are recorded in an immutable fashion, healthcare professionals can place complete trust in the system.
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