To address quality and cost issues associated with exchanging data between health plans, health systems, physicians, diagnostic information service providers and other stakeholders, five leading health care organizations have formed an alliance to launch a pilot program using blockchain technology. The alliance’s goal is to improve data quality and reduce administrative costs related to changes to health care provider demographic data, including current addresses, contact information and acceptance of new patients.
The pilot program, organized by UnitedHealthcare, UnitedHealth Group’s Optum, Humana, MultiPlan and Quest Diagnostics, will examine how sharing data through blockchain technology across health care organizations can improve data accuracy, streamline administration and improve access to care.
The pilot seeks to 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 demographic data inputs and changes made by different parties across a blockchain, potentially reducing operational costs while improving data quality.
Today, health care organizations typically maintain separate copies of health care provider data, which can result in time-intensive and expensive reconciliation processes when differences arise. About $2.1 billion is spent annually across the health care system chasing and maintaining provider data, according to industry estimates.
Blockchain technology, which is a secure, decentralized and highly efficient platform for documenting transactions, could help ensure that the most current health care provider information is available in health plan provider directories. Giving people access to accurate, on-demand information is essential to a high-functioning health care system.
Ultimately, the alliance intends to expand to include other stakeholders in the health care ecosystem as it develops industry-wide solutions for interoperability and sharing of data. The blockchain technology approach may lead to better health outcomes, better decision-making, better patient care and experiences.
For more information, please contact your UnitedHealthcare representative.
 Health Plan Week; Volume 27, Number 4; January 30, 2017