For blockchain to be successful in healthcare, it needs to scale. This is why collaborations have been created between major healthcare organizations to grow the technology.
In April 2018, five healthcare giants — Humana, MultiPlan, Quest Diagnostics, UnitedHealthcare Group and Optum, launched the Synaptic Health Alliance, a pilot program using blockchain to ensure health plan provider directors include up-to-date physician information.
Since then, St. Louis-based Ascension and Aetna have joined the project.
Mike Jacobs is a technology fellow and senior vice president of engineering at Optum. Below, he discusses what Synaptic Health Alliance is doing to push blockchain forward in healthcare.
Editor’s note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Question: What is Synaptic Health Alliance’s No. 1 blockchain priority?
Mike Jacobs: The Synaptic Health Alliance views blockchain technology as a means to a critical end for the health care industry: efficient data management and sharing. We selected provider directories as our first use case and through our pilot project are exploring how blockchain technology can help ensure the most current health care provider information is available in the provider directories maintained by health plans. This information is essential to a high-functioning health care system and affects payers, providers and consumers, costing more than $2 billion annually to maintain. A permissioned blockchain solution could be a valuable industry utility, solving a critical and complex issue that organizations across the health care system have grappled with for a long time.
Q: What needs to happen for blockchain to become mainstream? Will this happen in the next 10 years?
MJ: To use blockchain productively, density of adoption is required. This means that a group of individuals or organizations must be willing to…