At the end of February 2024, Change Healthcare clearinghouse had a significant disruption due to a cyber attack. This incident has highlighted the flaws in the healthcare payment processing system. Change Healthcare is a significant player in the American healthcare industry, handling half of all medical claims in the country and providing support to over 900,000 physicians. It is in charge of managing approximately 15 billion healthcare transactions annually, including data from one in three US patient records. 

The intrusion had an impact on the prescription medication processor that manages billing for over 67,000 pharmacies. The episode highlights the dangers of relying solely on a single clearinghouse to conduct transactions, since millions of dollars worth of medical claims might go unprocessed if there’s an outage like this again. The healthcare sector is advised to implement decentralized clearinghouses and add redundancy to its payer connection networks in order to reduce these risks against single points of failure. 

One system that links to several clearinghouses is Orbit Healthcare, which guarantees that payer requests are processed continuously even in the event of cyber attacks. In a time when these threats are becoming a bigger concern, this strategy—backed by clearinghouses like Change Healthcare, Availity, Waystar, and Experian Health—is crucial for preserving the stability and security of healthcare payment systems.

Lessons Learned from the Change Healthcare Cyberattack
Source: Orbit Healthcare