Research initiatives focus on blockchain tech to improve pharmacy supply chain



The Center for Supply Chain Studies is working on its next round of research to explore how blockchain-based distributed ledger technology can be used to enhance and improve the pharmacy supply chain.

The organization is putting together teams for two studies and is actively seeking members to participate. The two studies are "DSCSA & Blockchain: Phase 2, Proof of Concept" and "Blockchain for the Cold Chain." DSCSA stands for 2013's Drug Supply Chain Security Act.

The "DSCSA & Blockchain: Phase 2, Proof of Concept" study follows on the heels of the organization's Phase 1 research, in which supply chain stakeholders - manufacturers, wholesalers, returns processors, retail pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, track and trace system vendors, blockchain solution companies, master data management system companies and regulators - created ReferenceModels, or supply chain simulations, to explore the use of blockchain technology within the pharmaceutical supply chain for the purposes of meeting 2023 requirements of the DSCSA.


New research sought for temp-controlled environments

As for the "Blockchain for Cold Chain Study," The foundation of this study is to explore how the industry might extend the use of the architecture outlined in the DSCSA and Blockchain Phase 1 Study to manage temperature data collected from stationary or mobile temperature controlled environments, sensors, indicators and temperature controlled packaging configurations.

"We will first look to manage trading partner assertations as to whether the products have been maintained properly - or whether there is data to suggest that there has been an excursion - then we will experiment with ways of connecting temperature monitoring data with trading partners," Celeste said. "And lastly, we will explore if it's possible to coalesce this disparate data into an electronic signal or assessment of the product, from a temperature control perspective."

In the DSCSA and Blockchain Phase 1 Study, the Center for Supply Chain Studies realized that the interconnectivity, immutability and programmability of blockchain could have value beyond DSCSA. The organization polled its subscribers and a number of challenges were identified. Providing proper signals and data within the temperature sensitive (cold chain) industry was one of the highest valued concerns.

"Using ReferenceModels, simulations, we will explore the cold chain supply chain, technology and data sets and apply blockchain features to provide a common signal when excursions occur and an architecture where temperature questions can be asked and answered and temperature data can be exchanged between trading partners and solution providers," Celeste explained.

Participants in this study include the exact same kinds of participants in the "DSCA & Blockchain: Phase 2, Proof of Concept" study.

There are two challenges the organization is attempting to address the cold chain study. First, how to use blockchain technology to address the issues in cold chain operations through the supply chain. The center believes its previous studies have already shown the way and the center will be adjusting that work to address temperature data.

"The larger challenge is how to make use of disparate temperature data sets to tell the temperature story of an item as it transmits the supply chain," Celeste said. "The goal is to explore the cold chain process and demonstrate the use of industry blockchain to connect stakeholders and share alerts and data sets."

Source: Healthcare IT News (View full article)

Posted by Dan Corcoran on February 1, 2018 07:24 AM

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