Photo: Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images

Major healthcare companies Cleveland Clinic, IBM, Aetna and Anthem have joined forces to create a new blockchain health firm, Avaneer Health, which will be housed in Chicao and work to use blockchain to increase efficiency in healthcare and reduce administrative costs.

The firm will boast a technological backbone that’s designed to support an array of platforms, which will then be used to reduce administrative costs, accelerate care and improve the overall patient experience, the companies said.

WHAT’S THE IMPACT

Avaneer Health grew out of the Health Utility Network, a consortium of companies serving the healthcare industry. With investments from Cleveland Clinic, Aetna, Anthem, IBM, Health Care Service Corporation, the PNC Financial Services Group and Sentara Healthcare, Avaneer is launching as a stand-alone business with overlapping patient populations.

Stuart Hanson will serve as CEO of the new venture. He’ll begin his tenure in August, where he’ll bring what the investing companies said is “a wealth of industry expertise and connectivity.” Hanson will join from his current role as managing director and senior healthcare industry executive at JPMorgan Chase. 

At JPMorgan, his activities included driving a vision for the healthcare payments business and leading a strategic acquisition in 2019. Prior to this, Hanson held leadership positions at Change Healthcare, Citi and Fifth Third Bank.

Hanson has also served on boards at HIMSS, the parent company of Healthcare Finance News. He was chair of the Health Business Solutions Committee and the Revenue Cycle Improvement Task Force. In those roles he focused on reducing “transactional friction” in healthcare, specifically on the emergence of a consumer-centric view of healthcare revenue and payment cycle solutions.

Avaneer Health will share more about it mission and vision at the 2021 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition (HIMSS21), Booth #3427, August 9 through 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

THE LARGER TREND

The pandemic has acted as an accelerant of sorts for the development and evolution of certain technologies, and they’re poised to take on greater prominence as the pandemic slowly fades.

Blockchain in particular, with its notion of a distributed ledger, allows a level of interoperability that doesn’t yet exist in any wide-scale form. Interoperability – the ability for disparate electronic health records systems to communicate with one another – has long been seen as a holy grail in healthcare. Realizing that goal will bring a heightened level of efficiency to the system, from payment mechanisms to the ability of patients to get data and services in real time.

This isn’t the first time that Cleveland Clinic and Aetna have teamed up. In 2020, the two joined forces to form a new Accountable Care Organization, and planned to launch a co-branded commercial insurance plan called the Aetna Whole Health-Cleveland Clinic plan.

Under the plan, Aetna members can receive care from the Cleveland Clinic Quality Alliance network of employed and independent community physicians or at any Cleveland Clinic facility.

IBM has been in the blockchain game for a while, launching Rapid Supplier Connect in 2020, a blockchain-based network it says can help healthcare organizations, whether hospitals or government agencies, address equipment shortages during the pandemic by helping them find alternative suppliers.

ON THE RECORD

“Avaneer Health is uniquely positioned to change how we manage the modern healthcare ecosystem,” said 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. “The organization is executing on the vision of an inclusive infrastructure — a utility network — for the healthcare industry.”

“This utility network will provide the answers needed to deliver outstanding care and service to people, which today are opaque and in latent silos,” said Tim Skeen, senior vice president and CIO, Sentara Healthcare. “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.”
 

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com





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