United States-based health insurance giant Aetna has partnered with IBM to create a blockchain network tailored to the healthcare industry, Reuters reported Jan. 24.
Estimated to serve over 39 million clients globally, Aetna has reportedly issued a joint statement with IBM clarifying that the blockchain system will be designed to streamline insurance claims processing and payments, as well as manage directories. The insurance giant also recently merged with retail pharmacy and healthcare firm CVS Health Corp.
Alongside American financial services firm PNC Bank, two other health insurers — which count over 55 million members combined — have also reportedly joined the initiative: not-for-profit Health Care Service Corp., the fourth largest American health insurer, with over 15 million members, and Anthem Inc., which provides coverage for over 40 million people in the U.S.
Chris Ward, an executive at PNC Bank’s treasury management unit, told Reuters that implementing a blockchain solution can “remove [the] friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry.”
Further members from the healthcare and technology sectors are reportedly expected to join the project in coming months, according to the statement.
Aetna is one of a group of major U.S. healthcare companies that formed an alliance last year to trial blockchain solutions for improving data integrity, security and cost efficiency. The initiative also includes leading American healthcare non-profit, Ascension.
Blockchain technology continues to gain traction in the global healthcare sector, as insurers, hospitals and other industry professionals explore its benefits for sharing, securing and streamlining sensitive clinical and other health-related information.