The initiative, referred to as a health utility network, would bring together IBM, PNC Bank and some of the largest health care providers in the US, including Health Care Service Corporations, Anthem and Aetna.
IBM Will Use 100 Million Healthcare Plans Through Anthem And Aetna
Collectively, these providers account for almost 100 million healthcare plans. This number is expected to grow as additional health organizations, healthcare providers, startups, and technology companies join the health utility network.
According to Barbara Hayes, GM Payer at IBM Watson Health, “IBM is one of the founding members, but everybody has an equal stake across those founding members. It’s so important because you do have competitors side-by-side who are going after tremendous amounts of waste that is in the healthcare system; 40 cents, 50 cents on the dollar.”
Because there is so much waste to potentially eliminate, and because the cause for inefficiencies are not always apparent, healthcare companies will need to utilize both human insight and predictive models to make themselves more competitive.
“In healthcare,” says Hayes, “these inefficiencies are in clinical areas and in administrative areas – or just friction that happens in the system which leads to bad customer experience.”
IBM is hoping that by pooling knowledge from Aetna and utilizing blockchain technologies, the members of the health utility network will all see a greater return on their efforts than if they simply worked the problem individually.
“We are going to provide the SDKs and other ways to link to the platform,” said Dr. Bill Lafontaine, general manager of intellectual property at IBM. “We are leaving this very open because many of the members are bringing different technologies that they have already been investing in and so they get a faster return on that investment.”
However, IBM and the other health utility network members are not the only companies looking to solve healthcare problems using blockchain solutions.
“Using this technology,” said Chris Ward, head of product for PNC Treasury Management, “we can remove friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry.”
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