Aetna, IBM Explore Blockchain for Healthcare


We know that the healthcare segment of the American economy is huge, with healthcare spending making up around 17% of GDP. That may be good news for crypto investors, as health insurance companies and other stakeholders are starting to move toward blockchain systems.

This week, news outlets are reporting that Aetna is the newest health insurance firm to take the plunge, joining Anthem and a few other top brands as blockchain adopters.

A piece at Cointelegraph today also cites blockchain buy-in at PNC bank, and quotes a top staffer on why blockchain is in order.

“(Blockchain can) remove (the) friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry,” PNC Bank’s treasury management unit executive Chris Ward told reporters according to Marie Huillet.

With over 39 million clients around the world, Aetna is a significant player, and its consideration of blockchain efficiencies may move markets in the long run. Another big headline, though, is who Aetna is partnering with: IBM will assist in the evolution of the company’s blockchain modeling. As a top “blockchain friendly” tech firm, IBM has garnered attention for its stake in blockchain technology work.

“IBM is collaborating with a group of major players in the healthcare space to improve the way sensitive data is shared and make health claims and transactions more efficient – all in the form of a “blockchain-based ecosystem,” writes Ian  Allison at Coindesk this week.

If you think about blockchain directing the numbers that run behind those clinical processes so ubiquitous and central to our economy, you see how adoption in the healthcare segment is a big deal.

“Aetna has signed on to pilot the use of blockchain technology as part of the Synaptic Health Alliance,” writes Kyle Murphy, MD, at HealthPayerIntelligence, explaining some of the background of the deal. “Launched in April, the group has as its goal ‘exploring how blockchain technology could help ensure the most current health care provider information is available in health plan provider directories, providing consumers looking for care with the most accurate information when they need it.’ … According to the Synaptic Health Alliance, manual labor and costs for managing and reconciling data can be substantially reduced, with savings spread throughout the network of participants. Additionally, automation can play an important role in eliminating human intervention and redundant processes.”

Look for more on these types of bold moves as we progress through 2019.