Aetna, IBM among 5 companies to launch healthcare's newest blockchain ecosystem

Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corp., PNC Bank and IBM unveiled a new collaborative blockchain project Jan. 24 designed to improve transparency and interoperability in healthcare.

The companies are working to create an inclusive blockchain network that would enable healthcare companies to build, share and deploy their own blockchain solutions. Blockchain describes a permanent and shared ledger of online transactions or exchanges. Unlike a traditional database that is centrally located and maintained by one party, a blockchain record is shared among a network of users.

Some issues the collaborators hope to tackle include making the claims and payment processes more efficient, developing secure health information exchanges, and improving provider directories.

"We are committed to improving the healthcare consumer experience and making our healthcare system work more effectively," Claus Jensen, chief technology officer at Aetna, said in a news release. "Through the application of blockchain technology, we'll work to improve data accuracy for providers, regulators and other stakeholders, and give our members more control over their own data."  

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