This year’s conference was co-hosted by Hashed Health, BTC
Media and Change Healthcare.
Hashed Health and BTC have largely dedicated their
businesses to promoting the advance of blockchain technology. But the
participation of Change Healthcare, one of the world’s largest claims
processors, signaled a mainstream industry player making a significant stride
toward embracing distributed ledgers.
While one might assume Change would be worried about how the
blockchain could disrupt their business, this is not actually the case. Change
recognizes the blockchain as a way to not only create new services (such as
real-time claims management), but also strengthen existing resources. Perhaps
the biggest news of the week was president and CEO Neil de Crescenzo’s
announcement that Change is building a revenue cycle platform designed to help
providers and payers process claims and payments more effectively.
Perhaps one of the best panels of the day was “The Future of
Payment Models,” a discussion that followed de Crescenzo’s keynote. Ray
Herschman (VP, Accountable Care Strategy and Business Development at Cerner
Corporation), Francois de Brantes (VP & Director, Altarum Center for
Payment Innovation), Aaron Symanski (CTO, Change Healthcare), and John Bass
(CEO, Hashed Health) explored the limitations of the current payments infrastructure
for value-based payments and benefits. The panelists discussed how blockchain
technology provides an opportunity to create new systems that allow designers
to embed rational economic principles and incentive structures into fundamental
Another highlight was a series of product demonstrations,
including a joint project by Hashed Health and the State of Illinois showing
how the blockchain supports interstate licensure reciprocity. Cab Morris from
the Illinois Blockchain Initiative provided an overview that was simple and
easy to grasp for those who are fairly new to the topic.
Day two featured a number of interesting panels with
impressive speakers addressing identity, public health data surveillance and
pharma. The day two keynote speaker, Charlie Martin, gave an interesting and
insightful overview of how the healthcare system’s design no longer works.
There were some other key takeaways from the two-day event.
For one, it was clear that major companies are embracing the potential that
blockchain technology has to help their industry. Change, who in March merged
with McKesson Technology Solutions and is rumored to be preparing for an
initial public offering (IPO), is the first major company to make a major
blockchain product announcement. This is the probably the biggest blockchain
healthcare news so far this year.
Furthermore, the pace of healthcare product development is
faster than anyone expected. There are real projects underway, though nothing
yet is being used.
Meanwhile, traditional investors seem bewildered by what
they are seeing and hearing from the crypto world. For instance, initial coin
offerings (ICOs) are coming to healthcare in a big way. There were at least
five companies at the conference that are planning ICOs.