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Change Healthcare Releases Healthcare Blockchain Solution

Change Healthcare launched their first healthcare blockchain solution based on Hyperledger Fabric 1.0.

Healthcare blockchain solutions

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Change Healthcare announced the launch of its healthcare blockchain solution to help payers and providers increase their revenue cycle efficiency. The tool will support blockchain transactions by the end of this year.

Change Healthcare released The Change Healthcare Intelligent Healthcare Network in collaboration with the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project. Hyperledger is an open source project that works with many vendors and organizations to build blockchain standards.

“We are excited to work alongside our customers and partners to make blockchain real in healthcare,” Change Healthcare CEO Neil de Crescenzo said in a statement.

“As today’s healthcare system becomes more value-based, it’s essential that we aggressively and pervasively introduce new technologies into healthcare at scale—whether they leverage blockchain, artificial intelligence, or other emerging capabilities with the potential to improve outcomes and efficiencies,” he continued. “We are initially introducing blockchain technology to create a distributed ledger that makes claims processing and secure payment transactions work more efficiently and cost effectively for all healthcare stakeholders.”

The solution will use Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 framework for its application design and development. Change Healthcare will also continue to contribute code back to the open source community so other healthcare organizations can improve their blockchain applications.

Change Healthcare was the first healthcare IT company to join Hyperledger earlier this year.

The Hyperledger project’s goal is to create a standardized distributed ledger technology for organizations to build and run applications, platforms, and hardware that meet specific individual needs, while staying compatible with other organizations.

Hyperledger is working to create an open source healthcare blockchain standard for use among entities sharing clinical data within and outside their own organization.

In July, Hyperledger announced the general availability of its Fabric 1.0 framework. The Hyperledger Fabric framework leverages container technology to host smart contracts called “chaincode” that make up the system’s application logic.

Hyperledger Fabric was one of eight incubated blockchain projects from the collaboration and the first to enter active status back in March.

Healthcare organizations are interested in blockchain to coordinate workflows that involve several different parties. Blockchain could be the answer data exchange among providers, payers, and patients, according to Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf.

“Adoption of blockchain technologies will be driven organizations basing their development on providing better quality care much the same way the regional health information exchange concept kicked off digital health data-sharing. In some jurisdictions data exchange worked pretty well,” Behlendorf told HITInfrastructure.com last month. “The problem was it did create silos or islands of data that can hopefully be avoided with blockchain.”

Hyperledger has a healthcare working group which includes Change Healthcare, that was established last year to guide organizations on blockchain and where it’s headed in the healthcare industry.

“The group shares questions and ideas with the hope that it’ll trigger opportunity for proofs of concept and for pilots, as well as help us understand technologies that could be used equally as well among healthcare, finance, and supply chain settings,” Behlendorf said. “Sometimes there are sector-specific needs that could use our collective ideas.”

Change Healthcare is the first member of the working group to launch their blockchain solution. The open source technology helped Change Healthcare develop their blockchain solution.

“Many of the health IT organizations realize that they are fundamentally a technology company and they can’t sit around and wait for IT vendors to deliver perfect finished solutions to them,” added Behlendorf. “They need to be more proactive in understanding where emerging technologies have an impact on their industry and putting aside a small chunk of the money they spend on IT into developing capabilities and skills.”

As the first healthcare organization to deploy their blockchain solution based on Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, Change Healthcare can share its successes and failures with other health IT provides so they can develop blockchain technology based on the same standard.


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