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McKesson’s Change Healthcare is close to buying blockchain health-tech start-up PokitDok

McKesson’s Change Healthcare is close to buying PokitDok, a company that is best known for being among the first to apply blockchain technology to the health care sector.

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Change, a health tech company which is majority-owned by medical distribution giant McKesson, was in late-stage talks to buy start-up on Friday, according to four people familiar with the deal, and is planning announce it later this week assuming the deal closes. The people declined to be identified as they were not authorized to talk about the deal before its public announcement.

The deal could help McKesson get a leg up in blockchain services, a potential growth area. In November, Change teamed up with Tibco to explore using blockchain technology to make health care transactions run more smoothly.

PokitDok helps other start-ups access APIs, or application program interfaces, to more easily plug into thousands of different health companies’ computing systems to do things like check prices for a procedure or a patient’s billing status. The company is also building a service based on blockchain technology to try and make health care transactions more secure and faster. PokitDok announced a deal with Intel, Amazon, and others in 2017 to help scale that service.

PokitDok is backed by more than $55 million in venture capital from firms including McKesson’s ventures arm and a slew of other investment firms. Its founder is Lisa Maki, who stepped down in 2017 to work as an entrepreneur in residence at Storm Ventures.

Other companies were also interested in PokitDok, including VSP Global, a vision insurance company, and MedImpact, a pharmacy benefits manager.

Change and PokitDok did not respond to requests for comment.

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