The road to blockchain
A mission of Change Healthcare is to modernize the American healthcare system, which is plagued by inefficiency, fraud, and waste.
Patients, providers, and payers seldom see complete, up-to-date healthcare records. Incompatible file formats, data silos, and privacy concerns all hamper the free flow of information.
In fact, consulting firm McKinsey estimates that U.S. healthcare could save up to to $450 billion a year by using updated processes and technology. Change Healthcare wants to play a leading role in this transformation, by extending its Intelligent Healthcare Network with blockchain technology to provide a faster, better experience for all.
When company executives heard about blockchain, they wondered if it could help. For several years, various teams discussed blockchain and created proofs of concept. Then they decided to see if a healthcare blockchain could run at true production speed.
“We wanted to step the conversation forward by putting blockchain into production on a massive amount of data, assets, volume, and activity,” explains CTO Aaron Symanski.
His team started with an existing network linking providers to payers. That system did far more than simply store and forward claims. For example, both providers and payers could edit claims. Payers could approve some faster than others to help manage their revenue cycles.
The entire workflow helps both sides run more efficiently. And far beyond a sketch on a whiteboard, that system was already in production serving many thousands of users.
“We’re not a startup saying, ‘Hey, we have this great idea for a healthcare network built on blockchain!’” says Symanski. “We’re already handling more transactions than anyone else.”
So instead of building from the ground up, his team wanted to model their existing system with a blockchain and then see if it could stand up to real-world traffic.