RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP Global has announced an investment in PokitDok Inc., a health care company that uses a type of cloud-based computing known as platform-as-a-service to support the development and management of applications. VSP Global did not specify the amount of the investment. The partnership joins a separate collaboration already underway between PokitDok and VSP’s innovation lab, The Shop, to explore and test solutions using PokitDok’s HIPAA-compliant blockchain solution, DokChain. “Blockchain is poised to revolutionize how companies and entire industries, including health care, conduct business,” said Jay Sales, co-director of The Shop.

“Just as VSP was the first vision care company to provide online claims processing and authorizations during the expansion of the internet in the 1990s, we understand the need to be at the forefront of this next evolution as well.”

At its core, blockchain functions as a decentralized ledger where encrypted data is permanently stored in “blocks” and forms a chain of protected and immutable transactions. While blockchain’s impact across a number of industries is only beginning to take shape, its application in health care could include such advancements as auto-adjudication of claims, more efficient supply chain management, or seamless and secure interoperability between legacy electronic health record systems, VSP Global noted.

“Blockchain is an essential next step to achieve the heightened levels of security, flexibility, efficiency and transparency that the current health care market demands,” said Ted Tanner, Jr., co-founder and CTO of PokitDok. “We are pleased to test and deploy DokChain-enabled health care solutions with VSP Global, especially given their history of innovation.”

As part of the investment, VSP has secured two observer seats on PokitDok’s board of directors. VSP is also an active contributor to the DokChain Alliance, a coalition of health systems, insurers, technology providers and financial institutions established to advance the application and governance of blockchain technology in health care.

“Blockchain is coming to health care—quickly,” added Sales, who spoke about its potential at HLTH, The Future of Healthcare conference Monday in Las Vegas. “With PokitDok, we have the opportunity to help lead the conversation in the vision care industry and support technological advancements that will ultimately benefit our members and our network of independent doctors.”