Express Scripts, Blue Cross Blue Shield Form Blockchain Consortium

April 23, 2019

Pharmacy benefit management organization Express Scripts, two arms of the Blue Cross Blue Shield network, and others, have formed a blockchain consortium, with the initial aim to improve the efficiency and accuracy of member healthcare data exchanges across entities within the Blues' ecosystem.

NASCO, an Atlanta-based provider of healthcare technology solutions, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc. and Express Scripts are the organization involved in the new  venture, named the Coalesce Health Alliance.

Owned by and exclusively serving Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) health plans across the nation, NASCO began working with its BCBS plan partners in 2018 to examine how blockchain could help transform its already strong collective business network into an efficient, real-time, secure, trustworthy ecosystem that would benefit all parties, according to officials.

The Coalesce Health Alliance views blockchain not only as a technology disruptor, but also as an enabler of business networks and collaborative information exchange. So far, Coalesce has executed an Alpha Pilot project to demonstrate a basic healthcare distributed accumulators blockchain solution in a cloud environment, officials attest.

The Alpha Pilot project addresses the challenges health plans experience in managing member accumulations—such as not being able to accurately identify members across entities, working with stale or incomplete data and running into inconsistent integration formats—to ultimately increase operational efficiencies and improve the member experience.

"As both a co-owner and customer of NASCO, we recognize the value of interoperability as a key pillar of our strategy," Bill Fandrich, senior vice president and CIO for BCBSM, said in a statement. "Our recent success leveraging blockchain, in partnership with several other Blue plans in the Coalesce Health Alliance, is one step in that journey."

Officials say that interest in Coalesce has increased since the introduction of the Alpha Pilot project, as several other BCBS health plans, including HealthNow New York, Inc., are now participating in the consortium's advisory groups to evaluate the potential business value for their health plans.

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