US-based health insurers Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation and PNC have signed on IBM for a blockchain project to improve transparency and interoperability in the healthcare industry.
The aim is to create an inclusive blockchain network that can benefit multiple members of the healthcare ecosystem in a highly secure, shared environment, IBM said in a statement. The firm added that the goal is to allow the blockchain network to enable healthcare companies to build, share and deploy solutions that drive digital transformation in the industry.
"Blockchain's unique attributes make it suitable for large networks of members to quickly exchange sensitive data in a permissioned, controlled, and transparent way," said Lori Steele, general manager for healthcare and life sciences at IBM.
IBM said that it will not only help in digitising healthcare data but also minimise human errors. The project, once functional, could lead to enhanced patient care and reduced costs for the healthcare industry in general, said IBM.
The insurance firms said that they intend to use the blockchain across a range of solutions including promoting efficient claims and payment processing, to enable secure and frictionless healthcare information exchanges, and to maintain 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, chief technology officer at Aetna. "Through the application of blockchain technology, we will work to improve data accuracy for providers, regulators, and other stakeholders, and give our members more control over their own data," said Jensen.
IBM has been sharpening its focus on the digital-ledger technology called blockchain.
Last year, IBM had said that it has 63 blockchain clients and is working on 400 projects with them.
In an interview with TechCircle, Jitan S Chandanani, blockchain leader at IBM India, said the company was working with several consortiums and private firms to implement blockchain solutions.