Healthcare Organizations Form New Blockchain Company

June 11, 2021
Aetna, Anthem and Cleveland Clinic are key players who invested in the venture

A group of healthcare organizations has launched a new venture built on blockchain technology that’s designed to eliminate inefficiencies in the American healthcare system.

The newly formed company, Avaneer Health, grew out of the Health Utility Network, a consortium of industry organizations. The group convened “to lay the foundation for a frictionless health system oriented around serving people,” according to officials.

Today, Avaneer Health is launching as a stand-alone business with a significant investment from its founders, which include Aetna, Anthem, Cleveland Clinic, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), IBM, The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. and Sentara Healthcare. “Their participation and commitment to the venture gives Avaneer Health the overlapping patient populations necessary to make a meaningful difference at launch,” officials contend.

The group’s leaders categorize Avaneer Health as a “member-based, secure and open network supporting utilities developed for and by the healthcare industry. Its mission is to unlock the potential of healthcare to do more for people, they add. “Built on blockchain technology to ensure privacy and reduce the costs of data exchange, it serves providers of services across the healthcare industry. Avaneer Health improves the care experience by removing administrative barriers and resolving inefficiencies in cross-party transactions that slow down or disrupt delivery of care,” they stated.

Stuart Hanson, managing director at JPMorgan Chase, and formerly a senior executive at healthcare technology company Change Healthcare, will be tapped as the new company’s CEO. Hanson will take the reins as of August 2021. "I'm excited for this opportunity to help solve healthcare's biggest challenges," said Hanson. "I'm looking forward to working with both the Avaneer Health team and our industry partners, driving the strategy and building positive momentum for Avaneer Health."

Marvin Richardson, co-chair of Avaneer Health's Board of Directors, and senior vice president and CIO, HCSC, which operates health plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, noted, "The organization is executing on the vision of an inclusive infrastructure – a utility network – for the healthcare industry."

Tim Skeen, senior vice president and CIO, Sentara Healthcare, added, “This utility network will provide the answers needed to deliver outstanding care and service to people, which today are opaque and in latent silos. Avaneer Health has the potential to change every aspect of the healthcare experience. We are also thrilled to launch this business with Stuart Hanson as the CEO. He has a long track record of strategic innovation in healthcare and carries a deep personal commitment that aligns perfectly with our vision for Avaneer Health."

Blockchain technology is still nascent in healthcare, and another initiative, the Synaptic Health Alliance, has been working on projects to explore how blockchain could improve healthcare data quality and reduce administrative costs. Aetna is also part of this effort, and in the coalition’s pilot project work, Synaptic members used its blockchain functionality to identify up to 88 percent of necessary demographic data corrections across the members’ shared data for two of the most common errors in provider directories: address mismatches and inactive locations, which refer to sites where providers were once seeing patients and are no longer doing so, according to officials.

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