Learning from the Change Healthcare Outage

In February 2024, the Change Healthcare clearinghouse experienced a cyberattack that led to a lengthy outage. This outage impacted a vast number of individuals and entities, as Change Healthcare handles billing from more than 67,000 pharmacies and manages 15 billion healthcare transactions each year. 

Outages prevent the submission of medical claims, which causes the aging of millions of dollars in transactions that cannot be paid or fulfilled. In turn, this leads to a financial gap until the system is stabilized, which can take time. 

Luckily, there are ways to minimize outages. A key solution is to build redundancy by creating communications between multiple clearinghouses. This is a form of decentralization and avoids delayed payments, as well as the severity of consequences if an outage occurs in a single clearinghouse. 

Orbit Healthcare is an example of an organization that is focused on redundancy. It establishes decentralized communications by promoting modern architecture and scalability. Both of these traits are vital when it comes to remaining operational during outages.  

Several clearinghouses are already compatible with Orbit Healthcare. Availity, Waystar, Experian Health, and Change Healthcare are all examples.  Creating a network of clearinghouses will be important moving forward. 
Redundant healthcare payer systems reduce delays, which are becoming more common alongside spikes in cyberattacks and ransomware. Being prepared can make a big difference in outcome.

Lessons Learned from the Change Healthcare Cyberattack
Source: Orbit Healthcare

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