CIO Review gives Humana’s take on blockchain and collaboration

Humana’s Kyle Culver, Director, Emerging Technology, appears on the cover of the latest issue of CIO Review with an article he wrote titled, Blockchain: The Path Forward.

Kyle is leading Humana’s participation in the Synaptic Health Alliance, a blockchain-centered, collaborative organization that includes partners Aetna, MultiPlan, Optum, Quest Diagnostics and UnitedHealthcare.

As the alliance website explains, “Blockchain is a shared, distributed digital ledger on which transactions are chronologically recorded in a cooperative and tamper-free manner. One of the best and simplest explanations compares it to a spreadsheet that gets duplicated multiple times across a network of computers, which is designed to regularly update the spreadsheet.”

The alliance is exploring how blockchain technology can help address some of the toughest problems in healthcare. As a pilot, they’re testing ways to improve the collection and distribution of provider demographic data — such as names, addresses, specialties and phone numbers.

Today, managed care organizations, health systems, physicians, diagnostic information service providers and other healthcare stakeholders typically collect such data in separate IT systems maintained by each organization independently. This promotes vast inefficiencies and duplication of effort, while also potentially reducing data quality.

Estimates indicate that $2.1 billion is spent annually across the industry chasing and maintaining provider data.

In his CIO Review article, Kyle talks about ways to capitalize on blockchain’s potential while the “reservoir of goodwill” is still full.

“Blockchain requires a major culture shift,” he says. “It’s a shift from the familiar centralized entity to a decentralized autonomous organization.”

Overcoming challenges “requires more than a just group of talented engineers and a dataset. It will take creative, busy, savvy minds collaborating. In fact, the mindset of enterprise network participants will need to be changed from ‘competitors who compete’ to ‘competitors who compete AND collaborate.’”

He notes that partnering via blockchain can reduce cost, improve speed and decrease risk.

The task can be daunting, but Kyle ends with this advice: “Focus on small, meaningful steps and stay curious. The journey toward decentralized solutions is just getting started.”

Read the full article here.

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