US health insurers & IBM partner to create a blockchain-based system

US-based health insurance company, Aetna, has partnered with IBM to create a blockchain-based system intended to help reduce costs in the healthcare industry.

Aetna issued a joint statement with IBM explaining that the blockchain system will be used to improve transparency and interoperability.

“The aim is to create an inclusive blockchain network that can benefit multiple members of the healthcare ecosystem in a highly secure, shared environment,” the companies said in a statement.

Streamline insurance claims

In the statement, both firms said the system will help streamline insurance claims, processing and payments, as well as manage directories more efficiently.

“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 Aetna chief technology officer, Claus Jensen.

Over the years, healthcare companies have become interested in using blockchain technology to address several different issues, including sharing, securing, and streamlining health-related data.

Most healthcare companies, however, are still testing blockchain technology through experiments and pilot projects.

Lori Steele, general manager for healthcare and life sciences for IBM, said: “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.”

Other companies involved in the project are Anthem, Health Care Service Corp and financial services provider PNC Bank.

“Remove friction, duplication, and administrative costs”

“Using this technology, we can remove friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry,” Chris Ward, an executive at PNC Bank’s treasury management unit said.

New members from the healthcare and technology sectors are expected to join the project in the forthcoming months, according to the statement.

Last April health insurers Humana and United Health Care Group teamed up to launch a pilot program to explore how the technology could be used to improve the accuracy of provider directories.

Aetna and Ascension, the largest non-profit health provider in the US, are also partners in that project.


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