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American health care company, Aetna Inc and several other health insurers have announced a partnership with IBM Corp to create a blockchain network aimed at cutting costs in the healthcare industry.
2019 looks to be a big year for blockchain projects. Only a few years ago “blockchain” wasn’t in the vocabulary of most people, professional industries included; however, blockchain has seen a major spike over the last year, raising its profile as a promising emerging technology.
The health insurance companies in question intend to partner with IBM to create a blockchain solution that allows the sharing of databases, for processing claims and payments within the industry.
In the last year, in particular, we have seen blockchain break out of the cryptocurrency industry and into multiple other industries where it looks to make an impact. Blockchain is proving that banking is only the beginning of its journey. We have already seen blockchain projects going on in the political space with a proposed blockchain voting system in South Korea, and a blockchain based manifesto in Brazil, and now we are seeing blockchain break into healthcare.
IBM is a major tech firm that has been lending it’s support to blockchain for a while now. It was only a few weeks ago that it was revealed that IBM has partnered with MineHub Technologies to deliver a blockchain solution aimed at improving supply chain management in the metals and mining industry. IBM also have their own blockchain platform called IBM Platform. It looks as though IBM is trying to secure their position as one of the tech giants that will lead the way through a blockchain revolution.
The other companies involved in the project are Anthem Inc, Health Care Service Corp, and PNC Bank.
Chris Ward, an executive at PNC said:
“Using this technology, we can remove friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry.”
As an industry, Healthcare has long been plagued with administrative issues. Healthcare is a high-pressure industry with technological constraints and inconsistencies in tech across hospitals and offices. This, and lack of adequate communication between hospitals and headquarters leads to a situation where information is stored in several different places, often duplicated and often outdated. This leads to a whole host of issues when it comes to sharing information between different companies or hospitals at different locations.
In this way, blockchain is a natural solution to an industry that is so reliant on accurate and reliable recording and sharing of patient data.