IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced on Thursday it has teamed up with Aetna, Anthem (NYSE: ANTM), Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), and PNC Bank (NYSE: PNC) to create a new blockchain network specifically for the healthcare industry.
According to IBM, the network’s goal is to create an inclusive blockchain network that can benefit multiple members of the healthcare ecosystem in a highly secure, shared environment as well as to allow the blockchain network to enable healthcare companies to build, share and deploy solutions that drive digital transformation in the industry.
“Despite major initiatives to digitize healthcare information, major improvements in transparency and interoperability among various groups in the healthcare system are still necessary. By reducing administrative errors and friction through the application of blockchain technology, healthcare information could be exchanged more efficiently. These improvements, once realized could help enhance patient care and reduce unnecessary costs.”
IBM also revealed that the collaboration members do intend to use blockchain to address a range of industry challenges, including promoting efficient claims and payment processing, to enable secure and frictionless healthcare information exchanges, and to maintain current and accurate provider directories. While sharing more details about the collaboration, Lori Steele, General Manager for Healthcare and Life Sciences for IBM, stated:
“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.”
Aetna, Anthem, HCSC, PNC Bank, and IBM are actively working to further define the initial use cases for the health utility network. Additional members will be announced in the coming months and will include other health organizations, healthcare providers, startups, and technology companies.