This story originally appeared on Healthcare Informatics.
In a move that further strengthens its belief in blockchain technology for healthcare, the Nashville-based Change Healthcare has acquired key assets from PokitDok, a platform-as-a-service company known for being one of the first to apply blockchain to healthcare.
In 2017, Change Healthcare CEO, Neil de Crescenzo, made an announcement at a healthcare conference that it would be developing the Intelligent Healthcare Network with blockchain. He said at the time that the company is collaborating with customers and organizations such as The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project to make the benefits of blockchain technology broadly available and develop additional, advanced use cases. The Intelligent Healthcare Network with blockchain then became available in January 2018, featuring claims management transparency, as executives attested that it was the first enterprise-scale blockchain in healthcare. And more recently, the company announced an agreement with TIBCO to develop the first blockchain "smart contract" system for healthcare.
Now, Change Healthcare will look to leverage PokitDok's blockchain use cases as well as its DokChain technology to provide even more advanced blockchain capabilities in the Change Healthcare Intelligent Healthcare Network. Doing so will improve data integrity, auditability, and efficiency for healthcare transactions and processes, according to officials.
“The integration of key PokitDok APIs into the network will add new capabilities for digital health, telemedicine, and other new, disruptive care models that support value-based, patient-centric healthcare,” Change Healthcare officials said in an announcement this week.
According to officials, the Change Healthcare Intelligent Healthcare Network reaches approximately 2,200 government and commercial payer connections, 5,500 hospitals, 900,000 physicians, and 33,000 pharmacies. In the company's fiscal year ended March 31, 2018, it facilitated nearly 14 billion healthcare transactions and $1.0 trillion in annual healthcare expenditures.
"This acquisition is about practical innovation to create a more connected, transparent and efficient healthcare system where patients control their own information," Kris Joshi, Ph.D., executive vice president and president, Network Solutions, Change Healthcare, said in a statement.
According to a CNBC report on the deal, “PokitDok helps other start-ups access APIs, or application program interfaces, to more easily plug into thousands of different health companies' computing systems to do things like check prices for a procedure or a patient's billing status. The company is also building a service based on blockchain technology to try and make healthcare transactions more secure and faster. PokitDok announced a deal with Intel, Amazon, and others in 2017 to help scale that service.”
The report also noted that PokitDok is backed by more than $55 million in venture capital from firms including McKesson's ventures arm and various other investment firms.
In March 2017, Change Healthcare and San Francisco-based McKesson announced the closing of their transaction to form a new healthcare technology company.