Catalyst for Payment Reform

Has blockchain officially arrived in health care?

Has blockchain officially arrived in health care?

Public, immutable, and secure. Those are the three strengths of blockchain technology that John Bass, the founder of Hashed Health, stressed to the CPR staff when he visited our offices back in January. He piqued our interest in the possibilities for blockchain in an industry full of silos and opaque relationships. Inspired by his presentation, we began to educate ourselves on the technology, which promises to be the future infrastructure for processing data.

At the time we imagined it would be awhile before blockchain arrived at the doors of the health care world. We were wrong. It’s here.

According to their press release, Change Healthcare introduced the first enterprise-scale blockchain in health care through the revamping of their Intelligent Healthcare NetworkTM. The Intelligent Healthcare NetworkTM product allows providers like health systems to keep track of claims throughout the payment cycle. The blockchain technology newly added to the Network will improve transparency, allowing for the provider customers to have increased visibility and accuracy into their revenue-cycles, almost like an Excel spreadsheet where all permitted stakeholders can see real-time information, but no one can edit what has already been inputted.

March 2018 saw the launch of another health care blockchain solution: the Health’s Professional Credentials Exchange pioneered by Hashed Health. This platform aims to be the “single-source of truth” regarding provider credentialing, a space where lack of trust currently induces many repetitive administrative tasks to be carried out by provider systems nationwide. Other ways to use blockchain are still in early stages of development, but the hype for blockchain in health care is so large that South By Southwest organized a panel called “Blockchain and the Crisis in Healthcare,” featuring the two above-named products.

As these solutions roll out, many purchasers might be curious how the technology can help them control their costs, and how it can be applied to payment reform models. Luckily, the spirit of collaboration is strong within blockchain enthusiasts, as shown by the open-source framework of Change Healthcare’s product and the collaboration-centered business model of Hashed Health. So even if tomorrow’s technology is already solving today’s health care challenges, there’s still time to grab a seat at the table.

John Bass (left) visits with CPR staff in January

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