Aetna, Anthem, HCSC in blockchain collaboration to ramp up digital transformation

Three health insurers, along with PNC Bank and IBM, are collaborating to introduce blockchain technology into the healthcare ecosystem.

Aetna, Anthem and the Chicago-based Health Care Service Corporation are joining forces with the tech giant and the bank to create a blockchain network with the goal of enabling healthcare companies to build, share and deploy digital solutions for business issues. These include promoting efficient claims and payment processing, enabling secure and frictionless healthcare information exchanges and maintaining current and accurate provider directories.

"We are committed to improving the healthcare consumer experience and making our healthcare system work more effectively," said Claus Jensen, CTO for Aetna. "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."

Signage is displayed on the exterior of an Anthem Inc. Blue Cross Blue Shield office building in Wallingford, Connecticut, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. Anthem Inc.'s proposed $48 billion merger with Cigna Corp. could give the insurer the power to raise prices for employers both in the 14 states where it does business, as well as across the country, according to a witness in the U.S. government's lawsuit to block the deal. Photographer: Michael Nagle/bloomberg

A lack of timely access to medical information is a major impediment to a good consumer experience, adds Rajeev Ronanki, chief digital officer for Anthem.

"We view blockchain as an enabler for establishing trust," he says. "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."

The companies plan to add additional collaborators to the network in the coming months including other health organizations, healthcare providers, startups, and technology companies, as well as outline potential early use cases and pilots.

"HCSC is continuously exploring how technology and data can improve the lives of our members by reducing fragmentation of information and connecting parts of the health care system," said Steve Betts, SVP and CIO, HCSC. "We are proud to be part of this collaboration focused on enhancing technical knowledge, understanding capabilities and unlocking the possibilities to drive quality, affordable care."

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