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One of the most critical and complex issues facing health care organizations today is provider demographic data accuracy. Optum® began working with Humana, Multiplan, Quest Diagnostics and UnitedHealthcare in April 2018 to tackle this problem with an innovative blockchain pilot program. Aetna and Ascension have since joined the effort.

The alliance, called Synaptic, aims to improve health care provider data, streamline administrative work and ultimately improve patient access to care.

“We are collaborating with our alliance members to explore innovative ways to use blockchain technology in health care,” said Mike Jacobs, senior distinguished engineer at Optum. “Our effort to improve the quality of care provider data is a pragmatic and potentially effective way to leverage technology to help those we serve. We envision the possibility of effecting change at scale — supporting our mission of helping make the health system work better for everyone.”

The pilot aims first and foremost to provide patients more accurate provider information in a timely manner. Health care organizations currently all maintain separate provider records, making reconciliation between patients, insurers, doctors, hospitals and clinics time-consuming and expensive.

Health is hard, but great breakthroughs may come from industry players collaborating around emerging, innovative technologies to make life easier for doctors and patients.

– Busy Burr, vice president and head of Healthcare Innovation and Trend at Humana
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The health care industry spends $2.1 billion* ;annually chasing and maintaining this demographic data — not to mention working to keep it secure. Estimates indicate a single source of information could eliminate 75 percent of that cost.

“Health is hard, but great breakthroughs may come from industry players collaborating around emerging, innovative technologies to make life easier for doctors and patients,” said Busy Burr, vice president and head of Healthcare Innovation and Trend at Humana.

Blockchain — which is a continuously growing list of records that are linked and secured using cryptography — could later provide exceptional, discreet security for the sharing of all patient, provider, payer and other stakeholder data. The alliance will use blockchain to curate, process and transfer data across multiple organizations in ways that haven’t been possible before.

The potential for blockchain use in health care is endless. Optum plans to explore other uses related to patient care, such as sharing health records across organizations. This would allow patients to be in control of their health history, accessing it whether they change insurance companies or doctors and sharing it with whomever they need to.

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References

* Health Plan Week; Volume 27, Number 4; January 30, 2017