InstaMed previews blockchain prototype for payment cycle

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InstaMed has released a blockchain prototype app to demonstrate how blockchain can be used to support interactions among providers, insurers and consumers.

The proposed use of the distributed ledger technology would potentially ease such processes as claim submission, claim adjudication, claim payment, patient billing and patient payment.

The vendor, which operates a healthcare payments network, built the prototype on the HL7 FHIR platform, version 4. The prototype offers significantly reduced manual processes and paper-based communications while giving visibility into the full cycle of a patient encounter.

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At its recent Healthcare Payments Summit, InstaMed received significant real-time feedback on the prototype from attending providers and payers, said Chris Seib, chief technology officer at the company.

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 16: InstaMed Portraits on March 16, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell)

When asked the next steps and timelines for the prototype’s development, Seib acknowledged he’s not quite certain what comes next. “We’ll get the open source code out to the industry, get the feedback from other organizations and then work collaboratively. We believe in reducing friction in healthcare payments,” he adds.

Development of use cases are coming, he added; an early example could be assessing the flow of a consumer encounter with the consumer understanding their payment responsibility and making the payment.

Overall, the goal of the blockchain app is to give patients, providers and health plans more payment visibility, Seib said. “Two out of three consumers don’t understand their explanation of benefits, and maybe blockchain can help overcome this.”

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