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First Healthcare Blockchain Claims Management Solution Released

Healthcare blockchain is becoming a reality as Change Healthcare releases its blockchain claims management solution.

healthcare blockchain

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Change Healthcare announced the general availability of its healthcare blockchain solution for claims management to deliver transparent claim lifecycles.

The new healthcare blockchain release aims to introduce blockchain into the healthcare industry and increase trust by enabling greater auditability and traceability. This will also create a more secure and manageable revenue cycle management process.

Change Healthcare previously announced the launch of its Intelligent Healthcare Network back in September, with the intention of a full-scale rollout by the end of 2017.

"We are excited to work with customers and partners on applying blockchain technology to improve how payers and providers interact and conduct business, starting with the revenue cycle and payment process," Change Healthcare President and CEO Neil de Crescenzo said in a statement. “We will continue to leverage blockchain and other technologies to develop additional applications that can make healthcare more patient-centric while addressing cost and quality."

 “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,” he continued.

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

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

The solution uses 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.

The Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 has been available since July and Change Healthcare has been using the framework to create an open source healthcare blockchain solution to use among entities sharing clinical data within and outside of their organizations.

The solution is currently processing around 550 transactions per second through its blockchain, according to Change Healthcare. The solution can also be scaled up as the company expects its baseline performance to improve as more organizations adopt it.

"With this solution, we've demonstrated that blockchain technology can be effective for high-data volume, high-throughput transaction processing in healthcare," Change Healthcare CTO Aaron Symanski said in a statement. "This expands our opportunities for innovative new products and solutions that leverage blockchain—several of which we have already started to explore."

Change Healthcare is currently developing other ways blockchain can be used to benefit healthcare. For example, the organization believes blockchain can give visibility into a patient’s entire healthcare encounter.

"Not only could blockchain technology enable accurate tracking because of its immutability, the ability to make that visible to everyone involved in the encounter opens the door to create a more patient-centric experience and streamline processes, which benefits everyone," said Symanski.

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,” said Behlendorf. “The problem was it did create silos or islands of data that can hopefully be avoided with blockchain.”

Data exchange is the reason why organizations looking to use blockchain need a solution that abides by a framework. That way, data can be exchanged easily and securely with other entities as those organizations adopt blockchain.

This coming year will be a true test for healthcare blockchain. As organizations are beginning to adopt the technology, the true uses of blockchain will emerge and will continue to be improved upon through an open source community. 

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