Server racks with telecommunication equipment in a server room. Photo: iStock
Server racks with telecommunication equipment in a server room. Photo: iStock

Five major US healthcare organizations are turning to blockchain technology to deal with concerns related to health provider data, reports

The organizations, Humana, MultiPlan, Optum, Quest Diagnostics and UnitedHealthcare, have formed a consortium to launch a blockchain-based pilot program that is exploring the better management of data storage. The pilot hopes to diminish the rising administrative expenses related to US legal changes in demographic-based healthcare data storage, while also evaluating how blockchain can enhance information accuracy and access when it is shared across multiple health care organizations.

The pilot also hopes to drive out errors that the consortium partners estimate can cost as much as $2.1 billion per year to reconcile. At the moment, each of the five healthcare providers has its own data service but, by using a shared blockchain platform, they intend to develop a collaborative system that will work to ensure all data is current, accurate and visible to all parties.

“The pilot will also address the high cost of health care provider data management, testing the premise that administrative costs and data quality can be improved by sharing provider data inputs and changes made by different parties across a blockchain, potentially reducing operational costs while improving data quality,” said a consortium representative.

A recent IBM-backed “Healthcare Rallies for Blockchain” study surveyed 200 healthcare executives in 16 countries and found that 16% had plans to implement a commercial blockchain solution as soon as possible with 56% expected to do so by 2020.

Medical errors are estimated to be the third leading cause of death for Americans.

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