UnitedHealth and Humana Team Up For Health Insurance Blockchain Pilot

health insurance blockchain pilot United Health Humana

Two of the largest providers of health insurance in the United States have joined forces to launch a new blockchain pilot, in the latest such project to tackle health care through blockchain technology.

UnitedHealth and rival Humana have today announced details of their planned project, in conjunction with Quest Diagnostics and Multiplan, which seeks to leverage the benefits of blockchain technology to develop more accurate, effective models for data sharing within the sector.

UnitedHealth will participate on two fronts, courtesy of two of its subsidiaries, Optum and UnitedHealthcare. In addition to providing financial and logistical support to the development, the participants will also open up their own internal systems for testing through the new pilot application.

The companies released a joint statement outlining the concept behind the development.

“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.”

There are scant details at the moment about the technology that will be used in the development, and whether the pilot will be developed on existing frameworks or on an entirely new framework.

However, based on the details announced this week, it looks as though the pilot could go some way toward tackling the issue of data reconciliation, a workflow that costs the industry as much as $2.1 billion in administration costs annually.

UnitedHealth are themselves no stranger to blockchain developments and applications, and as recently as last week were part of a venture launched by a group of insurance companies, which spun off from their efforts as part of other blockchain development consortia.

Health care has long been seen as a sector poised to benefit significantly from developments in blockchain technology, particularly around areas such as patient data, and sharing and storing patient health records.

The unique properties of blockchain technology, such as the distribution of data and the immutability of blockchain records, have made it a key focus for research and development within the sector, including among large insurers like UnitedHealth and Humana.

As yet, there is no time scale on the blockchain pilot. However, the project will attract significant interest from blockchain enthusiasts, as well as the wider health-care sector, which could benefit more broadly from this type of solution in the future.