Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation, PNC Bank and IBM announce blockchain network

Network will eventually be open to new members for secure digital sharing of healthcare information.

Aetna, Anthem, IBM, Health Care Service Corporation and PNC Bank have partnered to create a blockchain technology network aimed at improving transparency and interoperability in the healthcare industry. 

The groups intend to use blockchain for more efficient claims and payment processing. Blockchain enables the secure exchange of information. It will also benefit more accurate provider directories.


Collaboration is key in the industry as a more cost-effective alternative to merging to create more competitive and efficient systems.

The current network is expected to add additional health organizations in the coming months, including providers, startups, and technology companies.

Initial members include three of the nation’s largest insurers, Anthem; HCSC,a customer-owned health insurer that includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans; Aetna, which is now part of the CVS Health business; IBM, which is a leading blockchain provider; and PNC Bank, which is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group.

Blockchain technology gives health systems an edge because it ideally creates faster, more efficient and secure claims and payment processing.

Insurers are mandated to maintain accurate provider directories, a time consuming and often manual practice involving numerous emails, phone calls and even fax exchanges.

For providers, a new technology that can actually reduce time spent in administrative clicks on a computer is a boon.


Despite major initiatives to digitize healthcare information, improvements in transparency and interoperability are still needed for that data to be shared.

Blockchain is designed to fill that role, reducing administrative errors and costs and ultimately enhancing patient care. The network also enables the companies to build and deploy new solutions.

Walmart last year filed a patent to use blockchain for medical records. A pharmaceutical industry consortium called the MediLedger Project, launched in 2017, is using blockchain to track pills across the supply chain, according to Fortune.


“Through the application of blockchain technology, we’ll work to improve data accuracy for providers, regulators, and other stakeholders, and give our members more control over their own data,” said Claus Jensen, chief technology officer at Aetna

Rajeev Ronanki, Anthem chief digital officer Rajeev Ronanki: “Timely access to medical information has been a stumbling block for creating a seamless consumer experience. With a trusted foundation based on transparency and cryptography, we will provide a faster, safer and more secure way to exchange medical information to transform the  consumer healthcare experience.”

What’s more, blockchain will enable large networks to exchange health data in a transparent and controlled way, according to Lori Steele, general manager for Healthcare and Life Sciences for IBM.

“Using this technology, we can remove friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry,” added Chris Ward, head of product, PNC Treasury Management.


Hospital ER worker fired for allegedly selling patient records

Image result for stealing patient records

An employee at Kings County Hospital’s emergency room stole nearly 100 patients’ private information and sold it through an encrypted app on his phone, according to New York Daily News.

Orlando Jemmott, 52, has worked at the city-run Brooklyn hospital for more than 10 years, where he was in charge of charting patient demographic data into the hospital’s computer system. But between December 2014 and April 2015, he allegedly sold patient data to Ron Pruitt, 43, a buyer in Pennsylvania.

FBI agents arrested Mr. Jemmott in February after receiving a tip in June 2017. A tipster told the FBI she had learned two years earlier that Mr. Jemmott was stealing and selling health records.

Hospital officials told the publication that Mr. Jemmott sold the names of 98 patients, and he accessed the private health records of at least 88 of those patients.

Kings County fired Mr. Jemmott in April. He has been negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors since.

“We have zero tolerance for anyone who intentionally violates our patient privacy rules,” Kings County Hospital CEO Sheldon McLeod said in a written statement to the New York Daily News. “The privacy of patient information is an important foundation for the care we provide.”



Medical errors officially the third leading cause of death in U.S., study finds


Researchers estimate more than 250K deaths a year caused by medical mistakes.