Providence St. Joseph Health acquires Lumedic for blockchain tech

The intent is to build a blockchain platform for claims processing, officials said.
By Nathan Eddy
11:06 AM

Providence St. Joseph Health announced the acquisition of Seattle-based healthcare technology company Lumedic, developer of a blockchain-based revenue cycle management platform.

The health system, one of the nation’s largest, claims it will be the first integrated provider-payer system to establish a scalable blockchain platform for claims processing.

WHY IT MATTERS

Providence St. Joseph Health said it plans to form a new company using Lunedic’s assets and team, which will maintain the Lumedic brand.

Based on blockchain technology the Lumedic end-to-end revenue cycle management platform deploys distributed ledger technology, smart contracts, and machine learning.

Payers and providers connecting to Lumedic’s network are also able to share trusted information and collaborate on integrated business processes, and Lumedic will work with Providence St. Joseph Health to explore additional partnerships with providers, insurers, and others in the health care field.

The goal is to reduce inefficiencies in the health care system—a recent McKinsey & Company analysis found revenue cycle inefficiencies were responsible for more than $500 billion in U.S. health care costs in 2018 alone, largely due to industry complexities and manual processes.

ON THE RECORD

“New technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and machine learning give us an opportunity to view the complexities of today’s health systems through a different lens,” Venkat Bhamidipati, Providence St. Joseph Health chief financial officer, said in a statement.

THE BIGGER TREND

Blockchain technology presents numerous opportunities for health care, including opportunities to reduce complexity, enable trustless collaboration, and create secure information.

However, it is not fully mature today, with several technical, organizational, and behavioral economics challenges must be addressed before a health care blockchain can be adopted by organizations nationwide.

“The Lumedic platform will reduce administrative burden and enable resources to shift to improved patient care, more patient-centric billing experiences, and lower costs,” Mike Butler, Providence St. Joseph Health president of operations and strategy, said in a statement.

Traditional health system and hospital revenue cycle processes frequently rely on physical correspondence and fax machines for sending medical records, legacy systems for data storage, and employees who spend hours calling insurers on the status of claims.

The non-profit health care player Providence St. Joseph Health is comprised of 51 hospitals and 829 physician clinics serving communities across seven states.

“By disrupting these often cumbersome processes ourselves, we strive to lower administrative costs for both parties while getting deeper insight into the financial experience of patients and the ways we can simplify the process for them,” Dr. Rhonda Medows, Providence St. Joseph Health president of population health and CEO of Ayin Health Solutions, said in a statement.

Blockchain technology will be a major focus of attendees at this years HIMSS conference. Health IT vendor HSBlox will debut blockchain tech for clinical trials, and officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are scheduled to offer updates how the agency approaches fast-evolving technologies such as blockchain.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin. 

Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com

Twitter: @dropdeaded209