A new collaboration between Blue Shield of California, Google Cloud, and other technology companies plans to transform medical billing by automating and simplifying the billing and payment process for both providers and patients.

Blue Shield and Google Cloud are launching a new approach to paying providers that will process members’ claims in real time. By developing a scalable cloud platform that will integrate solutions from Blue Shield’s other technology partners, the companies will digitize health care claims using automated processing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies to greatly improve the accuracy and timeliness of billing information and claims payment.

The collaboration aims to transform the member experience by providing instant information on out-of-pocket costs, also allowing providers to understand the payments they can expect from Blue Shield and eliminate burdensome administrative processes.

Lisa Davis, senior vice president and chief information officer at Blue Shield of California, said:

“The goal is to simplify the billing and payment process for providers so they can spend more of their time on patient care. We are reimagining health care by providing instant billing information that is digital, personalized, transparent, and easy to understand.”

Blue Shield plans to scale the initiative over time to all providers, plan types, and categories of claims processed, as well as to health information exchanges.

A 2019 study on the U.S. healthcare system identified that of the $3.6 trillion spent on health care annually, $265.6 billion is wasted due to administrative complexity. A large portion is related to health claims payment, which can take days – or longer. As a result, members are often left wondering what they will ultimately pay for medical care and providers are uncertain about when they will be paid for services.

Integrating technologies provided by Google Cloud and Blue Shield’s other healthcare technology partners, Blue Shield will standardize its datasets and help scale its ongoing efforts to transform and automate billing and claim payment systems, so members and providers know exactly what to expect when care is delivered.

Aashima Gupta, director of Global Healthcare Solutions at Google Cloud, said:

“Our collaboration leverages the best of both companies – Blue Shield of California’s deep health care experience and commitment to improving the health of its communities and Google Cloud’s ability to develop and automate scalable technology. This plan to provide clear, concise and correct medical billing information will lead to the creation of a national model to make all healthcare billing instantaneous and understandable, removing friction points for consumers and providers.”

This collaboration is the latest example of Blue Shield’s Health Reimagined strategy, the nonprofit health plan’s ambitious effort to transform health care for individuals, families, providers, and California communities.