Healthcare Giants Aetna and Ascension Join Blockchain Healthcare Trial

Recently merged CVS Health-Aetna and Ascension are stepping into the blockchain game, joining five other giants in the healthcare industry in a pilot of the technology.

Along with the other prominent members of the Synaptic Health Alliance, the two will try to figure out how to use the latest technology for improving data quality as well as lowering administrative costs.

Particularly, they are aimed at using blockchain for making provider directory data more accurate.

According to Synaptic health Alliance, the problem is multifaceted. Currently, insurers generally maintain their directories of providers which is an expensive endeavor with insurers and others spending about $2.1 billion per annum for keeping the information up to date. In case the directories are not maintained properly, then claims can be delayed, and insurers may face heavy fines from the CMS. Providers can be hurt too, as they may be listed incorrectly as out of network for the particular plans. That is something which affects patients, who must resort to inaccurate information.

Errors are common. More than half of the provider directory locations are listed in 64 Medicare Advantage organizations’ online directories had issues, as indicated by the data reviewed by CMS from September 2016 through August 2017.

If healthcare organizations shared their provider demographic data through blockchain, then they might help solve the problem and save money too. The Synaptic Healthcare Alliance believes that blockchain is mainly well-suited to the problems since it is secure, and all the changes to the data move to all copies in real-time, which is a characteristic that can cut operational costs, according to the chief information officer of Quest Diagnostics, Lidia Fonseca.

Also, blockchain can ease the burden on providers, said the chief information officer of Ascension, Gerry Lewis, who said the provider was drawn to the alliance due to both the scale of the companies involved as well as the multidisciplinary approach they make possible.