IBM is partnering with top healthcare providers to improve the methods by which sensitive health-related data is shared using a blockchain-based system.
IBM has formed a partnership with top healthcare companies like Aetna to improve healthcare service delivery. They are also looking to ensure that health claims are clearly defined and transactions are efficiently carried out.
Partners in this deal include IBM; Aetna, acquired last November by pharmacy and health plan provider CVS Health; health plan provider Anthem; Health Care Service Corporation, the largest customer-owned health insurance provider in the U.S.; and PNC Bank. These healthcare providers account for almost 100 million healthcare plans.
IBM said they are expecting more members, such as health organizations, healthcare providers, and tech companies, to join the Health Utility Network in the months to come.
Barbara Hayes, IBM General Manager for Payers, said in a statement that although IBM is a major member of the partnership, everyone involved has equal stakes. To cause meaningful change in sensitive industries like healthcare, one has to have insights into important aspects like waste disposal, correct medical data records, etc., according to her statement.
Dr. Bill Lafontaine, IBM General Manager of Intellectual Property, said that IBM will provide the SDKs and other means needed to link the platform. He revealed that many of the partners will be bringing in different technologies in which they have already invested. This partnership would therefore allow them to get quicker returns on their investments.
IBM isn’t the only tech firm trying to utilize the transparency and immutability of blockchain technology in the healthcare sector.
Other important firms in the blockchain healthcare sector include Change Healthcare, Hashed Health, Guardtime, Gem, and SimplyVital. With the number of firms in the healthcare space, IBM is faced with a lot of competition.
PNC Bank, though not in the healthcare sector, has been relatively open about its blockchain technology dealings. Chris Ward, Head of Product for PNC Treasury Management, said the partnership with IBM will make it easier for the healthcare providers, payers and patients to handle payments.
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