But arguably the biggest
news on the Change Healthcare front this year is the company’s launch of a
groundbreaking, enterprise-scale blockchain network.
This breakthrough use case promises to allow health provider organizations,
physician practices and payers to longitudinally track claims submissions and
remittances in real time.
Through the infrastructure,
known as the “Intelligent Healthcare Network,” Change hopes to set a high bar
for care delivery and reimbursement across the healthcare continuum. At present, the system is processing 50 million
health insurance transactions per day through Hyperledger
Fabric 1.0 — the open-source
blockchain framework hosted by The Linux Foundation.
Change is putting
blockchain technology to work in the facilitation of data across the entire
healthcare continuum — from check-in for a preoperative visit to direct care
and then to billing and payment. This fresh approach to revenue cycle
management, leading to greater transparency and efficiency in healthcare,
underscores blockchain technology’s value proposition and utility.
Building the Next “Block”
Emily Vaughn joined Change
Healthcare in December of last year as its director of blockchain product
development. As the former head of marketing and business development at Gem,
Vaughn oversaw the company’s evolution from a Bitcoin API service to an enterprise
blockchain service provider.
Distributed.com had a chance to talk briefly with Vaughn at the HLTH conference.
“The real driving interest
was this huge opportunity for someone to fill an important gap in the healthcare
blockchain conversation,” Vaughn said, regarding her decision to join the
Change team. “There are a lot of startups and great ideas. And the investment
potential is there. But what is lacking is an enterprise leader that’s going to
invest in the community, the ecosystem and in the development of all these
company business models. I’ve always thought that Change Healthcare was the
perfect company for that.”
Vaughn believes that there
is a technical layer of capability and maturity that still needs to be achieved
in blockchain solutions for healthcare, in order for the industry to really
step into the future and advance.
“Healthcare has a lot of
modernization to go through, and blockchain [technology] also has a lot of
maturity that needs to be developed from a healthcare standpoint because our
networks are going to operate a little differently than a financial network
would,” she said. “We have this technical development that needs to continue.
And we also have a business layer that needs to be developed.”
Vaughn added that over the
last few years the conversation around blockchain technology has always been
about its technical capabilities. But she sees emerging trends that should help
the industry take the next steps.
“I think we will see more
collaborations on the network level as well as more collaboration around cloud
infrastructure and blockchain networks,” Vaughn said. “Also, we’re going to see
increased collaboration around business use cases that run on top of that
network. Things like the revenue cycle and alternative insurance products. In
this latter case, people will use smart contracts to pool the purchasing power
of individuals so that they can then use those contracts to negotiate rates.”
Overall, the conversations
at HLTH and beyond leave Vaughn optimistic that healthcare will soon find
blockchain solutions for some of its most pressing problems.
“I think people realize that the old methods are not necessarily worth
protecting anymore, that we have technology that can solve problems that we
never thought we could solve,” she said.