Change Healthcare says it will support blockchain-based transactions by the end of the year, using the new technology on its exchange network that links providers and payers to enable transaction exchange.

The technology will be used on Change Healthcare’s Intelligent Healthcare Network, which will support blockchain transactions—customers and vendor partners will not have to develop new code, interfaces or data formats, the company says. Blockchain technology will be used to create a distributed ledger that makes claims processing and secure payment transactions work more efficiently and cost effectively.

Blockchain is a digital method of making, recording and validating transactions of virtually any kind, and experts contend that the technology reduces the risk of fraud because it is completely transparent—the blockchain is like an endless digital receipt of transactions that can be used to prove that an event occurred or that a record exists.

Blockchain technology could potentially solve some vexing data exchange and security issues involved in healthcare IT, but it represents a radical shift in IT within healthcare. The initiative by Change Healthcare is an early and significant effort to use blockchain technology in healthcare.

Using blockchain on its healthcare network will enable payers and providers to boost revenue cycle efficiency, improve real-time analytics, cut costs and create innovative new services, Change Healthcare executives say. The company serves customers across the continuum of care, using its network to process 12 billion healthcare-related transactions annually.

The company is collaborating with customers and organizations such as The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project to make the benefits of blockchain technology broadly available and develop additional, advanced use cases, says Neil de Crescenzo, the company’s CEO.

Also See: Microsoft takes aim at new blockchain initiative

“We are excited to work alongside our customers and partners to make blockchain real in healthcare,” de Crescenzo says. “As today’s healthcare system becomes more value-based, it’s essential that we aggressively and pervasively introduce new technologies into healthcare at scale—whether they leverage blockchain, artificial intelligence or other emerging capabilities with the potential to improve outcomes and efficiencies.”

Change Healthcare will employ Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, an open source blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation, as its platform for blockchain application design and development. Change Healthcare is a member of the Hyperledger governing board and will be contributing code innovations back to the open source community to improve blockchain applications for the U.S. and global healthcare industry.

Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.

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