Two of the largest health insurance providers in the U.S. announced Monday that they would pursue a blockchain pilot aimed at improving the quality of healthcare data.
UnitedHealth Group and Humana – who are largely rivals in the health insurance industry – said that they would develop the pilot in cooperation with MultiPlan and Quest Diagnostics. UnitedHealth Group will participate through two of its subsidiaries, UnitedHealthcare and Optum.
According to a statement released by the companies involved:
"The pilot will examine how sharing data across health care organizations on blockchain technology can improve data accuracy, streamline administration and improve access to care."
It's not clear at this time whether the pilot would involve an existing platform or the development of a wholly new one. UnitedHealth and Humana did not immediately respond to requests for further information.
Still, the pilot is targeting a key pain point in the healthcare industry, data reconciliation, which according to one estimate costs as much as $2.1 billion in annual spending. And firms like UnitedHealth have eyed blockchain for potential applications in the past; last week, a group of insurers and reinsurers launched a new commercial venture that grew out of an existing consortium effort.
Health data image via Shutterstock