Cigna and Sentara Healthcare Expand Blockchain-Based Ecosystem for Healthcare Industry - Along with Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation, PNC Bank and IBM

Cigna and Sentara Healthcare Expand Blockchain-Based Ecosystem for Healthcare Industry - Along with Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation, PNC Bank and IBM

PR Newswire

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced that Cigna and Sentara Healthcare have joined a new health utility network using blockchain. The aim of the network is to convene a broad ecosystem of healthcare organizations in a highly secure, shared environment with the goal of enabling organizations to build, share and deploy solutions using blockchain that drive digital transformation in the industry. 

IBM Corporation logo. (PRNewsfoto/IBM)

The network also includes Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), and PNC Bank. Together they are exploring ways that blockchain can be used to address a range of industry challenges, including promoting efficient claims and payment processing, enabling secure and frictionless healthcare information exchanges, and ways to maintain current and accurate provider directories.

"We came together to create the health utility network realizing the need to improve transparency and interoperability in the industry in order to improve healthcare for all Americans," said Rajeev Ronanki, chief digital officer of Anthem, Inc. "Engaging additional members across partner levels and industry perspectives will increase the network's reach and ability to deliver high value solutions."

At its core, blockchain is about strengthening trust in data. It's a digital record keeping system that creates a new way to share and secure data across a business network. The ability to do this in real time, while maintaining permissioned access, data ownership and governance across many disparate parties, is what makes it so transformative.

"Cigna sees enormous potential for blockchain to improve the way we harness insights across the health care ecosystem to better serve our customers and communities," said Mark Boxer, executive vice president and chief information officer, Cigna. "By working together, and joining the health utility network as a founding member, we have a significant opportunity to create new efficiencies that will lead to improved whole person health and wellness outcomes for our customers and clients."

"Sentara is dedicated to leveraging Information Technology to continuously improve health every day," said Mike Reagin, Sentara Healthcare senior vice president and chief information and innovation officer. "Blockchain is poised to help solve some of healthcare's most crucial data security, and IT interoperability issues as we look to implement new customer-centric healthcare delivery models."

"The distinctive attributes of blockchain is enabling collaborations between parties that could not easily take place previously, and with that entirely new business models are emerging," said Lori Steele, general manager for Healthcare and Life Sciences for IBM. "The byproduct of this is the ability to link organizations in real-time and in ways that can ultimately improve the patient experience."

One of several areas of focus for the healthcare ecosystem will be new ways to address payments. For example, a lack of trust between payers and providers can impede efforts to move toward alternative payment models. IBM and PNC have begun collaborating on a way to use blockchain to create shared efficiencies, drive adoption of bundled payments as a reimbursement mechanism, and help improve the value of care. The two organizations are scheduled to demonstrate the solution during the HIMSS Conference.

The business model of the healthcare blockchain network is predicated on a commitment to open and inclusive participation. More members expect to be added including other health organizations, providers, startups and ISVs, and together members will expand use cases that can benefit the healthcare industry.

The announcement was made during THINK 2019, IBM's annual conference focused on technology and business.

About Think 2019
At Think 2019, IBM will outline new offerings, client engagements, partnerships, technology breakthroughs and developer tools that underscore how IBM and partners are changing the way the world works.For more information, visit the IBM Think 2019 Newsroom: https://newsroom.ibm.com/think. Follow the conference on Twitter at #think2019 and @ibmlive, and go to https://www.ibm.com/events/think/ for the full schedule and live streaming agenda.

About Aetna
Aetna, a CVS Health business, serves an estimated 39 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental and behavioral health plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers' compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna's customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, visit www.aetna.com and explore how Aetna is helping to build a healthier world. @AetnaNews

About Anthem, Inc.
Anthem is a leading health benefits company dedicated to improving lives and communities, and making healthcare simpler. Through its affiliated companies, Anthem serves more than 74 million people, including nearly 40 million within its family of health plans. We aim to be the most innovative, valuable and inclusive partner. For more information, please visit www.antheminc.com or follow @AnthemInc on Twitter.

About Cigna 
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to improving the health, well-being and peace of mind for those we serve. Cigna delivers choice, predictability, affordability and quality care through integrated capabilities and connected, personalized solutions that advance whole person health. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York, Express Scripts companies or their affiliates. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance.

Cigna maintains sales capability in over 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has 160 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.

About Health Care Service Corporation 
Health Care Service Corporation is the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall, with more than 16 million members in its health plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. A Mutual Legal Reserve Company, HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit HCSC.com, visit our Facebook page or follow us at Twitter.

About IBM
IBM is recognized as the leading enterprise blockchain provider. The company's research, technical and business experts teams have broken barriers in transaction processing speeds, developed the most advanced cryptography to secure transactions, and are contributing millions of lines of open source code to advance blockchain for businesses. IBM is the leader in open-source blockchain solutions built for the enterprise. Since 2016, IBM has worked with hundreds of clients across financial services, supply chain, government, retail, digital rights management and healthcare to implement blockchain applications, and operates a number of networks running live and in production. The cloud-based IBM Blockchain Platform delivers the end-to-end capabilities that clients need to quickly activate and successfully develop, operate, govern and secure their own business networks. IBM is an early member of Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. For more information about IBM Blockchain, visit https://www.ibm.com/blockchain/or follow us on Twitter at @ibmblockchain.

About Sentara Healthcare 
Sentara Healthcare celebrates nearly 130 years in pursuit of its mission – we improve health every day. Named to IBM Watson Health's 2018 "Top 15 Health Systems," Sentara is an integrated, not-for-profit system of 12 hospitals in Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, including a Level I trauma center, the nationally-ranked Sentara Heart Hospital, two orthopedic hospitals, accredited Sentara Cancer Network and the Sentara Neurosciences Institute. The Sentara family also includes four medical groups, Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance and ground medical transport, senior care, home care and hospice, nursing rehabilitation centers, ambulatory outpatient campuses, advanced imaging and diagnostic centers, a clinically integrated network, the Sentara College of Health Sciences and the Optima Health Plan serving 450,000 members in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. With nearly 28,000 employees and ranked one of Forbes "America's Best Employers" in 2018, Sentara is strategically focused on clinical quality and safety, innovation and creating an extraordinary healthcare experience for our patients and members.

About PNC
PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit www.pnc.com.

Contact: Leesa D'Alto, 212-671-9806, Leesa.dalto@ibm.com

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SOURCE IBM

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