Five of the largest U.S healthcare organizations; United Healthcare(NYSE:UNH), Humana (NYSE:HUM), MultiPlan, Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX), and Optum, have just announced that they will be taking steps towards blockchain technology. The five groups will all be participating in a pilot program using blockchain technology to improve data quality.
A key component of this venture is to save administrative costs, as it has been calculated that $2.1 billion is spent every year chasing and maintaining provider data. All managed care organizations, physicians, hospitals, and diagnostic information service providers all hold separate copies of healthcare provider data. Provider data must be verified when processing health claims and many are often delayed due to a mismatch.
This is the first step to expose US healthcare to blockchain technology. There are a few key blockchain startups currently working to solve patient healthcare records kept on the blockchain. Their primary focus is to eliminate medical errors, giving providers full access to a patient’s full medical records instantly to aid them in making the best healthcare decision.
Cardiovascular disease and Cancer are shown be the leading causes of death in the U.S. by the CDC. However, medical errors fall just behind those leaders and aren’t even accounted for. Blockchain technology could aid in this problem that is plaguing providers across the nation. Just think of this scenario, you go to the emergency room for an infection and they give you antibiotics and instruct you to follow up with your healthcare provider after finishing the round of antibiotics. The infection hasn’t cleared and when visiting your health care provider, he refers you to a specialist. Currently, your medical records are spread out to four different locations the hospital, the pharmacy, your general practitioner, and the specialist.
Just think how easily there could be a miscommunication of information and how long it would take to obtain all the data from the various sources all to one location.
This new joint venture is only focusing on provider NPI, TaxID, and physical address, being held on the blockchain and it marks a positive step for the industry. Hopefully soon, we will see these big time health insurance companies partnering to get patient data on the blockchain.
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