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Combating Health Care Fraud and Abuse: Conceptualization and Prototyping Study of a Blockchain Antifraud Framework.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:An estimated US $2.6 billion loss is attributed to health care fraud and abuse. With traditional health care claims verification and reimbursement, the health care provider submits a claim after rendering services to a patient, which is then verified and reimbursed by the payer. However, this process leaves out a critical stakeholder: the patient for whom the services are actually rendered. This lack of patient participation introduces a risk of fraud and abuse. Blockchain technology enables secure data management with transparency, which could mitigate this risk of health care fraud and abuse. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study is to develop a framework using blockchain to record claims data and transactions in an immutable format and to enable the patient to act as a validating node to help detect and prevent health care fraud and abuse. METHODS:We developed a health care fraud and abuse blockchain technical framework and prototype using key blockchain tools and application layers including consensus algorithms, smart contracts, tokens, and governance based on digital identity on the Ethereum platform (Ethereum Foundation). RESULTS:Our technical framework maps to the claims adjudication process and focuses on Medicare claims, with the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as the central authority. A prototype of the framework system was developed using the blockchain platform Ethereum (Ethereum Foundation), with its design features, workflow, smart contract functions, system architecture, and software implementation outlined. The software stack used to build the system consisted of a front-end user interface framework, a back-end processing server, and a blockchain network. React was used for the user interface framework, and NodeJS and an Express server were used for the back-end processing server; Solidity was the smart contract language used to interact with a local Ethereum blockchain network. CONCLUSIONS:The proposed framework and the initial prototype have the potential to improve the health care claims process by using blockchain technology for secure data storage and consensus mechanisms, which make the claims adjudication process more patient-centric for the purposes of identifying and preventing health care fraud and abuse. Future work will focus on the use of synthetic or historic CMS claims data to assess the real-world viability of the framework.

SUBMITTER: Mackey TK 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7516680 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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