On Thursday, Avaneer Health announced new backing from several blue-chip healthcare organizations, who are committing $50 million in seed funding to the health network.
WHY IT MATTERS
The new funding comes from founding network participants including Aetna, Anthem, Cleveland Clinic, Health Care Service Corporation, PNC Financial and Sentara Healthcare, according to Avaneer Health.
The network, founded by those participants and others this past year, is built using blockchain technology and uses HL7’s FHIR specification to expand data access across healthcare organizations, with a focus on with payer-to-payer data exchange, eligibility and prior authorization.
Avaneer Health’s architecture is designed to enable secure and streamlined transactions for its participants. Having grown this past year, the network plans to use the new seed money to invest in talent and technology and build out nationwide, officials say.
THE LARGER TREND
Ongoing interoperability hurdles – and the care disruptions and cost inefficiencies that come with them – are a longstanding challenge for payers and providers alike.
Avaneer Health points to CMS data showing U.S. healthcare spending up 4.6% in 2019 – $11,582 per person – for a total of $3.8 trillion. That figure is expected to increase to $6 trillion by 2025. It also points to the CAQH 2020 Index Report, which finds that fixing inefficiencies in data exchange could save tens of billions.
Blockchain has been seen as a potential game-changer for secure data exchange, but is still in its early stages across most of healthcare.
One of the health systems that has been doing work with blockchain and distributed ledger technology is Norfolk, Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare, which has worked with Cigna and IBM on some interoperability use cases and has partnered with academic institutions to assess its potential for identity and access management.
Tim Skeen, Sentara’s CIO, also serves as co-chair of Avaneer Health’s board of directors.
“Together, we’re changing the paradigm of healthcare data flows with a secure network empowered by blockchain, FHIR and other leading technologies,” said Skeen in a statement announcing the new funding for Avaneer.
“To achieve truly frictionless and seamless care, healthcare needs greater transparency and ease of navigation for all parties involved, particularly as we move toward greater adoption of value-based care,” he added.
ON THE RECORD
“Addressing administrative costs and creating a positive consumer experience requires connectivity and the type of data fluidity we have come to expect in other industries,” said Stuart Hanson, founding CEO of Avaneer Health, in a statement.
“We are very excited to jumpstart our network to enable healthcare organizations to work together with a foundation of trust to solve the ‘last mile’ problem in healthcare,” he said. “This group of well-known industry backers gives Avaneer Health the initial capital, scale and knowledge base from launch, and positions us for additional growth and industry venture investments in 2022.”
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