Four billion prescriptions were dispensed at US pharmacies in 2019, and even conservative estimates suggest that over 100 million prescriptions may be incorrectly dispensed. To address this problem, healthcare leaders are actively working to put new tools into the hands of pharmacists to ensure the right drugs reach the right people.
Part of that effort is the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), an ongoing, decade-long effort to track and trace prescription drugs in the United States. The DSCSA is intended to enhance the FDA’s ability to help protect consumers from drugs that may be counterfeit, stolen, contaminated, or otherwise harmful. The vision is to have an interoperable system in place by 2023 that will allow for drug tracing, product verification, and prompt detection and response protocols to handle all suspect medications. To get the system in place, the FDA turned to the public in 2019 and asked for new, cutting-edge approaches to improve the prescription pipeline.
LedgerDomain, an enterprise-grade blockchain solutions provider known for its work on developing the next generation of healthcare and pharmaceutical supply chains, was one of the companies that responded to the FDA’s request. LedgerDomain’s proposal of a blockchain-based solution in collaboration with UCLA and the pharmaceutical company Biogen was selected by the FDA as part of its pilot project program.
LedgerDomain’s pilot centered on the development and live testing of BRUINchain, a blockchain-based system that meets DSCSA standards for pharmaceutical dispensers all within a shared-permission yet private ecosystem. While the pharmaceutical supply chain has numerous stakeholders, BRUINChain, which is built on Hyperledger Fabric, establishes one version of the truth for the pipeline that is immutable and invaluable.
The team tested BRUINchain within UCLA Health’s network of 500 pharmacists and technicians, focused on tracking the drug Spinraza, the first medication approved to treat children and adults with a rare and often fatal genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy. The results exceeded UCLA Health and LedgerDomain’s expectations. The BRUINchain app’s barcode scanning functionality on iPhones was 100 percent effective, and the Hyperledger Fabric-based system was able to track every dose of Spinraza at UCLA Health, down to which refrigerator each dose was stored in across the campus. Even before the pilot ended, the team was adding new functionality and products as the network of pharmacists grew more reliant on the BRUINchain system.
Hyperledger teamed up with LedgerDomain on a detailed case study on the BRUINchain pilot, including deployment details and results, projected cost and time saving and next steps based on the solution’s success to date.
The New Year brings about various resolutions for millions across the globe. For many, that means putting more focus on their physical and mental health. Blockchain’s ability to revolutionize healthcare is undeniable. When applied to healthcare, blockchain is a shared platform that decentralizes health data without compromising the security of sensitive information. For example, patients can potentially use their own signatures, combined with a hospital signature, to unlock data to provide secure access to medical information for use in treatment. Patients could have full control of their medical information, selecting the information they want shared and viewed by providers or doctors. This model lifts the costly burden of maintaining patient’s medical histories away from hospitals. Also, counterfeit medicine is a big issue pharma companies face in their everyday operations since there are many stakeholders involved in the supply chain. Recall of drugs and avoiding counterfeit drugs from entering into legit marketplaces will help in reducing the losses and improving service delivery to the end customer. Blockchain could be used to maintain the entire supply chain in healthcare.
Below is a list of some interesting healthcare applications powered by Hyperledger technology you may or may not have known about:
Axuall– Axuall is a digital network for verifying identity, credentials, and authenticity in real-time using the Sorvin Network and Hyperledger Indy. The Axuall network is currently in pilot with Hyr Medical and their 650+ physician network in addition to two other health systems. Physicians’ time is better spent practicing medicine than filling out redundant, repetitive credentialing paperwork consisting of unchanging information. Using Axuall’s digital credentialing network, physicians will be able to present fully compliant credential sets to participating healthcare systems and medical groups they are affiliated with or applying to. Utilizing the cryptographic constructs from Hyperledger Indy, healthcare organizations will be able to verify the validity of a physician’s credentials – spanning medical education, training, licensing, board certification, work history, competency evaluations, sanctions, and adverse events – ensuring compliance with industry standards, regulatory mandates, and health system bylaws.
KitChain – LedgerDomain joined forces with other industry leaders like Pfizer, IQVIA, UPS, Merck, UCLA Health, GSK, Thermo Fisher, and Biogen to build out a pilot on Hyperledger Fabric called KitChain. Scoped and developed over the course of two years, KitChain aims to demonstrate a robust collaborative model for managing the pharmaceutical clinical supply chain, creating an immutable record for shipment and event tracking without the need to resort to paperwork and manual transcription. KitChain has two major components: a frontend mobile application and a backend blockchain server. The backend was implemented in Golang and used Hyperledger Fabric, the LedgerDomain Selvedge blockchain app platform, and LedgerDomain’s DocuSeal framework, encompassing smart contracts and application logic. As such, the pilot has a fully functioning highly secure blockchain backend.
MELLODDY Project – This drug discovery project uses Amazon Web Services technologies to execute Machine Learning algorithms from academic partners on a large scale. The data never leaves the owner’s infrastructure and only non-sensitive models are exchanged. A central dispatcher allows each partner to share a common model to be consolidated collectively. To provide full traceability of the operations, the platform is based on a private blockchain and uses Substra, a software framework for orchestrating distributed machine learning tasks in a secure way. Substra is based on Hyperledger Fabric. MELLODDY is designed to prevent the leaking of proprietary information from one data set to another or through one model to another while at the same time boosting the predictive performance and applicability domain of the models by leveraging all available data. The MELLODDY consortium consists of 17 partners:
Two academic universities: KU Leuven, Budapesti Muszaki es Gazdasagtudomanyi Egyetem
Four subject matter experts: Owkin, Substra Foundation, Loodse, Iktos
One large AI computing company: NVIDIA
MyClinic.com – Medicalchain was one of the first healthcare blockchain companies to join the Hyperledger community, signing on as a member in 2017. The company’s ethos is to empower patients to have access to their medical records. Providing patients with direct access to their data unlocks the barriers we face in healthcare today such as patient choice and interoperability issues. A doctor-led team based in the UK, Medicalchain trialled the first telemedicine consultation using blockchain technology. The company’s first blockchain-based product to market, MyClinic.com, makes it easy to schedule appointments, review medical reports and request further investigations or assistance using an Android and iOS app. Now the company is set to focus on scalability with the view to onboarding clinics and patients locally, nationally and internationally.
Verified.Me – SecureKey launched its innovative and in-demand network to Canadian consumers in early 2019. Verified.Me is a blockchain-based digital identity network built upon Hyperledger Fabric 1.2 that enables consumers to stay in control of their information by choosing when to share information and with whom, reducing unnecessary oversharing of personal information. Sun Life Financial has signed on as an early adopter and the first North American (health) insurer, making it easier for their clients to do business with the company. Dynacare, one of Canada’s largest and most respected providers of health and wellness solutions, has joined the Verified.Me network. Dynacare’s participation will make it easier for Canadians to verify their identities as well as gain safer and faster access to their health information.
Curious about blockchain and advances in healthcare? Contribute to the conversation by joining the Hyperledger Healthcare Special Interest Group (HC-SIG). Open to anyone, the SIG was created to offer healthcare professionals and technologists a forum to discuss the implementation of technology solutions using blockchain technologies in general like Hyperledger frameworks and toolsets in specific.
The problem of surplus medication is getting increasingly serious. Each year, tons of prescription drugs remain unused in clinics, assisted living facilities, and at individual patients’ homes. Often, the law demands that any unused medications be destroyed, which results in a whole complex set of problems.
On the one hand, about $2 billion worth of prescription drugs are wasted every year. On the other hand, one in every three Americans cannot afford their prescribed medications due to the high cost or absence of medical insurance. At the same time, there is no unified procedure for using surplus medications and making them available to those who need it.
Another issue to consider in this context is the cost of unused drug disposal, which can be around $1.25 per pound. The rules require that unused drugs be disposed of through incineration that creates additional environmental concerns.
The obvious solution to this complex problem is establishing a mechanism for returning the unused medications and offering them to patients who need them. In fact, the drug donation and reuse programs have been researched for more than twenty years, but only 38 states have passed laws on drug reuse as of now.
At the same time, the implementation of these laws gives hope that the multi-faceted problem of surplus drugs can be resolved. However, to achieve true effectiveness and prevent misuse, such programs need to take into account many practical aspects:
– Control over the donated drugs’ quality and expiration. Of course, to be accepted, drugs must be unexpired and their packaging must be intact.
– Motivation for pharmacies to act as drug acceptance facilities. Participation in the drug donation program has its costs, which pharmacies are not too eager to bear.
– Motivation for clinics and patients to donate unused drugs. The law prohibits selling medications, thus, their owners should be motivated in a different way.
– Data security. Medication-related data is highly sensitive and needs special protection from unauthorized access.
How technology can help
Our experience with blockchain and distributed applications proves that these technologies can become the core of an effective and secure platform for unused drug donation and redistribution. It resolves the problems of data security and traceability and can help to automate a number of processes.
Together with the Save Pharmaceutical project, Adoriasoft is now building a blockchain-based platform to join drug donors (clinics, assisted living facilities, individual persons), drug repositories (pharmacies), and patients. The solution will be a multi-functional product allowing donors to donate the medications they do not need, and pharmacies to approve or reject the donations and, ultimately, to provide them to patients.
We are using Hyperledger Besu as the base technology for this project. By choosing Hyperledger Besu, we plan to leverage the benefits of the protocol to enable transaction processing. Furthermore, we see Hyperledger Besu as a platform for building a permissioned enterprise-scale network to serve the drug repository system.
In view of the high sensitivity of healthcare data that is going to be exchanged in the network, the transactions will be processed via smart contracts executed on Hyperledger Besu. Only the parties directly involved in the transaction will have access to its details.
At the same time, blockchain provides the means of controlling the entire transaction flow from the drug donation by the owner to its final assignment to the patient. The platform will include a mechanism of monitoring the pharmacy income from reselling the donated drugs and distributing it among the other participants.
Since the law explicitly prohibits donors from demanding payment for the drugs they donate, there should be other methods of motivating them to participate in the program. The state laws establish a tax deduction for drug donation, but our product can include an additional compensation in the form of a tradable digital token.
The tokens issued on the blockchain can be used towards a discount on the platform or exchanged for other assets. The same tokens can be issued to pharmacies, too, to attract them to the program.
Blockchain-based drug repository networks are going to be a true quantum leap in the healthcare industry, on the one hand, bringing significant cost savings, and, on the other hand, making medications accessible to patients who were otherwise unable to purchase them. We are proud to be a part of a project of such a social impact and to make the knowledge accumulated by the Hyperledger community serve this noble cause.
Before new medicines can reach the patients that need them, the pharmaceutical and biotech companies that develop them must seek FDA approval. As part of this process, pharmaceutical companies sponsor highly controlled clinical studies in medical centers, called “sites.” The number of active studies has doubled over the last 10 years, and study sites are bursting at the seams. With the rise of personalized medicine and increasingly specialized shipping and storage requirements, this trend can only accelerate.
At LedgerDomain we’ve partnered to tackle this challenge with a broad spectrum of industry leaders, including pharmas, contract manufacturers, research organizations, academic sites, and couriers. At the heart of this effort is the world’s first iOS blockchain app for pharmaceutical supply chain, which we presented last month to the Hyperledger Healthcare Special Interest Group (HC SIG).
Today we’d like to dig beneath the surface of our efforts in this space. We’ll cover some lessons we’ve learned along the way, and how blockchain can speed innovative medicines to the patients who need them. We’ll also give you a sneak peek at a live pilot happening right now, where a blockchain-based solution is being used to deliver lifesaving medicines to real patients.
Why Hyperledger for healthcare?
We chose to join the Linux Foundation and Hyperledger in 2016 after a simple realization – most of our clients and prospects were apprehensive about coin-based models. Hyperledger Fabric represented a different approach to blockchain that aligned with their values at a deeper level. It’s no wonder that the community has come a long way since, emerging as the blockchain platform of choice for global enterprises.
Coin-based models can serve as a fantastic incentive for participation, but not everyone in every jurisdiction is ready for cryptocurrency. A second factor that sets Hyperledger Fabric apart is its focus on privacy. While everyone is looking for the magic bullet that will enhance track-and-trace capabilities across the drug supply chain, nobody wants to risk leaking patient health records from a public blockchain across the dark web.
The DocuSeal framework
Highly regulated enterprise communities have unique requirements. Much of our work on Hyperledger Fabric has centered on specialized multi-threaded experiences designed for compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, Cal Privacy, and data privacy laws just over the horizon, performing at scale.
With that in mind, we built DocuSeal, a framework designed for blockchain-powered document authentication through an iOS application. With DocuSeal, uploaded documents are sealed in private storage, tied to a unique hash that’s immutably stored on a private blockchain. Documents can be shared with other users or deleted.
DocuSeal makes it possible to verify the authenticity of any document each time it’s accessed. At the same time, the “right to be forgotten” is preserved, as the private storage can be wiped if necessary while the hashes on the blockchain are preserved. To assure real-time performance metrics, we use Selvedge, our enterprise-grade blockchain app server developed in Golang on Hyperledger Fabric.
We designed the DocuSeal framework so users could be up and running in minutes with simple document storage and sharing – similar to Dropbox – plus serious security and timestamping. But underneath this simple interface, our stakeholders can leverage the power of smart contracts to drive inter-enterprise workflows.
How blockchain can speed innovative medicines to the patients who need them
Testing new medications is an extraordinarily complex process. Right now, over 800 biotechs and pharmas are working with their vendors to supply medicines for over 10,000 clinical studies to tens of thousands of clinical sites. And the number of studies is constantly growing.
While some clinical sites are just a doctor and an assistant, large academic centers aren’t like your neighborhood Walgreens or Boots. They’re massive warehouses with pallets loaded with experimental medications. One of our partners, UCLA, has 700 clinical studies sponsored by 100 different companies. This is a massive undertaking where no single pharma’s proprietary system can predominate, so everyone has fallen back on paper.
With that in mind, in 2017, we joined forces with other industry leaders as part of the Clinical Supply Blockchain Working Group (CSBWG), which includes Pfizer, IQVIA, UPS, Merck, UCLA Health, GSK, Thermo Fisher, and Biogen. Over the course of two years, we built out a pilot on Hyperledger Fabric to address this challenge directly. We named it KitChain
(Want a deeper dive on technical specifications? Check out our white paper!)
Big picture: supply chains and blockchain
KitChain was a major milestone for the supply chain for clinical studies, but meanwhile the stakeholders on the commercial pharmaceutical supply chain were struggling to meet their own challenges. Everyone is looking ahead to 2023, when the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) will come into full effect with sweeping requirements for traceability across the entire pharmaceutical supply chain.
With that in mind, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) came out earlier this year in search of enterprising stakeholders to help them tackle the problem of counterfeit and suspect medicines.
In response to the FDA’s call for pilots to address this challenge, we partnered with UCLA Health to launch the only pilot of its kind. We’re building and testing a last-mile blockchain-driven solution designed to help deliver lifesaving medications to real patients. This solution features an intuitive iOS client running on our Selvedge app server and smart contracts, all powered by Hyperledger Fabric.
This is a “rubber hits the road” moment for supply blockchain: out of the workshop and into the real world. Our living supply chain solution captures all the transactions – from the loading dock to the patient. It will capture the data needed to develop trends and analytics, and be able to surface risk management issues. But most of all, it’s designed to handle the human element – because in the real world, sometimes things happen you don’t expect. A blockchain system that doesn’t allow for human factors will no longer reflect the ground truth. These are all things we’re working on right now, and we look forward to sharing our findings and connecting with you in Phoenix at Hyperledger Global Forum 2020.
The Hyperledger community has grown and matured over the last three years, and we’re honored to be a part of building the future of blockchain. Delivering our full-stack enterprise-grade solution by ourselves would have been impossible, but by joining Hyperledger and the Linux Foundation, we’ve been able to contribute while standing on the shoulders of giants.
About the Author
Ben Taylor is the CEO of LedgerDomain, founded in 2016 to bring Hyperledger blockchain solutions to enterprise ecosystems, unlocking a world of communal computing and real-time performance. After doing undergraduate and graduate work at MIT, Ben spent a quarter of a century incubating and investing in early-stage technology companies.
Change Healthcare is on a mission to modernize the American healthcare system. A central part of that plan is extending its Intelligent Healthcare Network with blockchain technology to provide a faster, better experience for all.
Change Healthcare operates the largest healthcare network in the country. Formed through years of mergers and acquisition, the healthcare infrastructure company links 900,000 healthcare providers and 5,500 hospitals with 2,200 government and commercial payers.
A network of this scale, built from a mix of companies, means a very complex back end with lots of systems that are working independently. To unite information and give customers faster, better access to data, Change Healthcare turned to Hyperledger Fabric to begin blockchain-enabling its Intelligent Healthcare Network.
The starting point was modeling an existing network linking providers to payers with a blockchain and then seeing if it could stand up to real-world traffic. After testing and assessing options, Change Healthcare’s launched this initial Hyperledger Fabric-powered network in January 2018. It’s been running as a parallel network since, processing as many as 50 million transactions a day—with throughput up to 550 transactions a second. That’s enough to handle all the healthcare claims activity that Change Healthcare handles across its full network.
The Hyperledger team has worked closely with Change Healthcare to document this large-scale network deployment and its performance in a detailed case study. Highlights include system criteria and planning, details on the supported workflow and transactions and future directions, including plans for ensuring interoperability, boosting throughput even further and migrating more business partners to the network.
HIMSS19 took place in Orlando, FL the week of February 11 and this was the third year Hyperledger had a presence at the conference. HIMSS is the leading Healthcare Information and Technology Conference attracting over 45,000 people from 45+ countries each year. Member companies of the Hyperledger Foundation are invited to spend time working the booth, and I had the opportunity to represent Myndshft interfacing with attendees and answering questions about how blockchain technologies fit into healthcare.
Thoughts on Hyperledger Booth at HIMSS
Most people inquiring about blockchain at HIMSS this year were looking for ideas, thoughts, and examples of how blockchain could and should be implemented in healthcare. HIMSS attendees have been following blockchain topics for the last three years (since Hyperledger first had a presence at HIMSS) and many are savvy to how blockchain provides data immutability, creates a network of members, and the general concept of a distributed ledger. There were a few recurring questions the visitors to the Hyperledger booth asked on a variety of different topics, but they all circled around the idea of where blockchain makes the most sense to be implemented.
*NOTE*: There were quite a few questions about how Hyperledger fit into the world of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency in general, but most of these discussions ended up at one of the following places below after a basic explanation that Hyperledger focuses on blockchains for business and operates differently than completely public blockchains that utilize cryptocurrency.
The three big questions I heard repeatedly at the booth were:
‘Should I use blockchain to enhance my security?’
‘How am I supposed to integrate my existing technology into a blockchain?’
‘Where is blockchain being used today in healthcare?’
Let’s break them down into each of their parts:
Is blockchain for security?
People still aren’t sure how blockchain security works. Many visitors were conflating the cryptographic properties of blockchain with the idea that they need less security infrastructure to run a blockchain. The question asked at the booth a few times was “Explain to me how a blockchain isn’t hackable?” The discussion that followed typically included an explanation that all existing security measures need to be in place for a blockchain network to be secure, but when you use blockchain, the historical data on the chain isn’t able to be changed.Thus individual records aren’t able to be manipulated without notice, providing organizations with minimal trust to work from a common record of truth.
How can I integrate with my current systems or other blockchains?
Many people wanted to know how data got into and out of a blockchain network and how they were able to continue using their existing systems. The majority of participants had concerns that adopting blockchain would require a rip-and-replace of the IT systems their organization has already spent millions of dollars on. The reality is that Hyperledger blockchains like Fabric and Sawtooth are able to coexist with existing IT systems and provide functionality that their existing systems don’t have and never will have without a network. Listening to the conversations around data integration and interoperability was a good reminder that the SDKs provided for the different blockchain projects within Hyperledger need to be a top priority for development. Without good SDKs and the ability for non-blockchain engineers to use them effectively, it is unlikely that blockchain will gain much adoption beyond some niche use cases.
Where is it being used today?
The last question people had was around how blockchain is being used today in healthcare. There are few companies that already have blockchains up and running for different parts of the healthcare ecosystem today.
Myndshft is a company building a network of payers and providers to bring transparency, speed, and auditability to the prior authorization process. The network integrates with existing systems of record and use events in those systems to drive execution of “smart contracts” (the rules that govern how a blockchain operates), which automate the prior authorization before writing the results back to the providers system.
Change Healthcare is also running a blockchain for claims processing and monitoring. In conjunction with its clearinghouse, Change is using blockchain to ensure all claims that are processed are auditable and traceable.
Synaptic Health Alliance and the DokChain Alliance are also groups looking into blockchain and how it fits to drive efficiencies and collaboration in healthcare.
Overall, the interest and education around blockchain in the healthcare community is growing rapidly, and nobody is wanting to be left behind or appear as a laggard in their implementation and adoption of blockchain technologies. For more information about what Hyperledger is doing in healthcare or how Myndshft is solving complex administrative problems, please reach out to me via email (email@example.com) or join us in the Hyperledger Healthcare-SIG Rocket.Chat.
We’re thrilled to see Nathaniel Popper of The New York Times include Brian Behlendorf, Hyperledger Executive Director, in a roundup of the top 10 most influential leaders advancing blockchain technologies in the industry today.
Brian has led a life-long career in open source technology starting off as a primary developer of the Apache Web server, the most popular web server software on the Internet, and a founding member of the Apache Software Foundation. Often referring to himself as the “Geek Diplomat” of Hyperledger, Brian has successfully led the effort to attract more than 235 members from all over the world, pulled in hundreds of developers to contribute code and grown the consortium to include 10 tools and frameworks over the past two years. All this has made Hyperledger the fastest growing open source project hosted by The Linux Foundation to date.
Laura Shin wrote another story in The New York Times, that explored how various industries like healthcare, government, food, supply chain management and trade finance are turning to blockchain to improve efficiencies and enable new business models. Brian Behlendorf is quoted in the article saying companies must transform and adapt their business models to leverage blockchain if they want to remain competitive.
The technology, he said, “does force them to transform in the same way that companies that were information-centered have had to transform with the rise of the internet. That same kind of thing will hit any company about transactions or about being a system of record for an industry. If they transform themselves before their competitors do it, they’ll have a future.”
The article referenced Northern Trust as an example of blockchain in production today. Northern Trust utilizes Hyperledger Fabric to automate the paper-intensive process of investing by pensions and endowments in private equity. Hyperledger technologies run in production deployments and provide real value beyond finance as well. Take for instance, PokitDok, which created a Hyperledger Sawtooth-powered platform called DokChain that manages smart contracts, resolves patient identities, controls access to personal health records, settles healthcare claims and fuels complex medical supply chains.
Another example is Change Healthcare, which last year, signed on as the first healthcare Premier member of Hyperledger. They announced their Intelligent Healthcare Network, built on Hyperledger Fabric, for claims management transparency. With it, organizations can accurately track, in real time, the status of claims submission and remittance across the complete claim.
The fact is companies from small startups to large prominent tech companies are betting a chunk of their business on the future of these technologies. SAP, Oracle, GE, Amazon and Huawei announced Blockchain-as-a-Service products within the last year, all powered by Hyperledger technologies. We, at Hyperledger, proudly support this innovation.
Hyperledger’s end vision is to create the foundational infrastructure that will power enterprise distributed ledger applications and systems and allow for decentralization. And the future is looking very bright! You can check out many other projects, pilots and production deployments of Hyperledger (or add your own) via our Blockchain Showcase. You can also plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. As always, keep up with what’s new with Hyperledger on Twitter.
Hyperledger announced the newest members of its open source blockchain project, including two health IT companies, Ehave and CareiQ. Healthcare blockchain hopes to solve interoperability and data exchange issues.
The Hyperledger team (and 40 of our members!) spent a good amount of time in New York for CoinDesk’s annual Consensus conference last week. It was a great event with tons of excitement and enthusiasm around blockchain and its many applications. Attendees were from all walks of life – from developers to architects to financial services professionals to healthcare specialists to investors – all trying to better understand the best and most practical use cases of the technology. The event kicked off the weekend before with the Building Blocks Hackathon at 30 Rockefeller where many of the world’s top blockchain developers vied to build the next killer smart contract app. Participants could build on top of any blockchain protocol: bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger or otherwise. And through various sponsor challenges, they were encouraged to leverage the software and support made available by our world-class mentors in order to deliver projects.
(Winning team of the Hyperledger hackathon challenge and Hyperledger Executive Director, Brian Behlendorf)
Jonathan Levi, an active Hyperledger community member and the founder of HACERA, won 2 hackathon challenges using Hyperledger technology. They won the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance challenge and they were one of the winners of the Microsoft challenge. They called their solution Dutchess – a secure decentralized Chess on the blockchain that allows players to use ETH to pay for an unfair advantage in a sealed-bid Dutch auction. The entry highlighted Jonathan’s and HACERA’s approach of integrating multiple permissioned & public chains.
Public Ethereum accounts used to transfer money to a sealed-bid Dutch auction
Confidential transactions using Solidity on Quorum, deployed on Microsoft Azure
A permissioned and public identity chain (Sovrin) for registering identity tokens
The result was a mini HACERA-like workflow that provided secure, auditable, privacy preserving, that prevents impersonation, relying on self-sovereign identity and offers a non-repudiation guarantee – with a playable fun game of Chess on a blockchain.
Early Monday, the Hyperledger team then set up shop on the 6th floor of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Crowds of attendees stopped by each day to learn more about the technology.
At the booth several member companies gave demos on different Hyperledger projects including Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Iroha. Cloudsoft demonstrated Deploying Hyperledger Fabric on Kubernetes with Cloudsoft AMP. IBM showed Connect a Cloud, connecting organizations together on Hyperledger Fabric using hosted cloud providers of choice. Soramitsu ran a KYC/user identity demo of Hyperledger Iroha/Android app and video, and Byacco, a local digital currency currently in use at University of Aizu in Fukushima, Japan. IntellectEU together with their customer Telindus (Proximus Group) explained streamlined asset transactions through reconciliation, matching and resolution among multiple parties.
Hyperledger also hosted a Roundtable on Monday on its distributed ledger technologies, Hyperledger Sawtooth and Hyperledger Iroha, each technology had end users speak to their different use cases. Kelly Olsen from Intel spoke to Sawtooth and his user, Pokitdok CTO, Ted Tanner weighed in on how they are utilizing Sawtooth in their healthcare blockchain solution. Makoto Takemiya, CEO, co-founder, Soramitsu discussed Hyperledger Iroha as a blockchain framework for mobile applications and Soichiro Takagi, from the Center for Global Communications (GLOCOM), International University of Japan shared his experience with the technology.
In addition to the robust line-up of Hyperledger activities in the main Consensus program and on the show floor, Hyperledger hosted a series of talks that ran all day Monday and Tuesday in the Hyperledger Mini Summit room. Attendees interested in how to best collaborate and get involved in the Hyperledger initiatives and learn where they can provide the most value had their bases covered in Monday’s “Meet the Hyperledger community” sessions. Speakers included the new technical staff, and diverse representation from the Technical Steering and Marketing committees, Governing Board, Identity Working Group and our fearless leader, Brian Behlendorf, Hyperledger’s executive director.
In Tuesday’s Hyperledger Mini Summit sessions, members dove a bit deeper into the impact of blockchain technologies on their businesses with field reports on how they are using Hyperledger to solve their business objectives. Attendees heard technical insights from Norbloc on the KYC process, IntellectEU together with their customer Telindus (Proximus Group) on streamlined asset transactions, as well as Cloudsoft on deploying and managing global blockchain networks.
Our members reinforced that blockchain is not only impacting business on a global scale, but also across industries through blockchain talks from Huawei on telecom, Daimler on the industrial enterprise, Deloitte on regulation, Energy Blockchain Labs on reversing China carbon emissions, and a panel of speakers from Accenture, BanQu and Leading Directions on blockchain for good applications.
Hyperledger hosted three different panels on Tuesday moderated by Executive Director, Brian Behlendorf and Security Maven, Dave Huseby. Those panels were “The Role of Open Source in Blockchain,” “Blockchain in the Wild, PoCs, Pilots & Deployments” and “Security, Privacy and the Enterprise Blockchain.”
(The Role of Open Source in Blockchain panelists: Dan Middleton, Intel, Casey Kuhlman, Monax, Makoto Takemiya, Soramitsu & Amber Baldet, J.P. Morgan)
(Blockchain in the Wild, PoCs, Pilots & Deployments panelists: Jesse Chenard, MonetaGo, Ashwin Kumar, Deutsche Boerse, Ram Komarraju, CLS Group, Corey Todaro, Hashed Health & David Treat, Accenture)
The panels were very well attended and there was great discussion on all three topics. It was most interesting that identity on the blockchain turned out to be the main topic of conversation during the security and privacy panel. And on that note, we’re excited with Hyperledger Indy just recently getting accepted into incubation under Hyperledger. Indy provides tools, libraries, and reusable components for providing digital identities rooted on blockchains.
(Security, Privacy and the Enterprise Blockchain panelists: Justin Newton, Netki, Drummond Reed, Sovrin Foundation, Jeff Garzik, Bloq & Astyanax Kanakakis, Norbloc)
We ended Consensus with a member party atop a NYC hotel rooftop. It was such a pleasure to see everyone and we are extremely grateful for all the support our community has provided around this event and overall. We’re looking forward to next year’s event – we hope that you can join us! For those interested in additional information about Hyperledger technologies please reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, we encourage developers to join our efforts via GitHub, Rocket.Chat the wiki or the mailing lists. You can also follow Hyperledger on Twitter.
The Hyperledger Hyderabad Meetup has been growing! Recently, we decided to have a combination of tech sessions and workshops combined with talks from meetup members who have implemented proof of concepts and built prototypes using Hyperledger. Blockchain is a revolutionary technology with the potential to disrupt the way things are currently functioning in many industries from financial services, to healthcare to technology. Specific to healthcare, blockchain has the potential to improve efficiency leading to massive cost reduction.
To give some perspective about the stakes at play for pharma companies, for every 10,000 molecules, just one of them becomes a drug. It takes about 10 years from the time a patent is awarded to the time the drug comes to the market. The process is marred by regulations, audit and compliance, data management etc. A patent is awarded for 20 years, so the scope for monetization is limited to about 8 years until it moves to the generics market and starts being sold it at low rates. So, in this context, if we can reduce the inefficiency in the go to market strategy and reduce the 12 years to 4-5 years, it is a big deal. Eventually it will lead to reduction in cost of the medicine.
A few weeks ago we had an Enterprise Architect from a major international pharma giant in Hyderabad give a talk pertaining to blockchain use cases in the healthcare sector. Below are specific use cases where the benefits of blockchain technology could help improve healthcare he discussed:
A patient could provide his medical history into the blockchain, enrich it with the EHR and make it accessible as and when required to the right stakeholders. Consent management using blockchain was a large topic at our last meetup. Enriching the EHR with personal health records from fitness devices/trackers and making it accessible to the doctors with the consent of the patient makes a case for better diagnosis of symptoms. Blockchain could give the control and meditation of data to the true actor, the owner of the data (patients in this case).
Blockchain could be used for inter-organizational record keeping (audit and compliance) since a lot of data movement happens between regulators, manufacturers, regulators etc. Data can go stale since a copy is maintained independently by all the players. Tracking the integrity of the content is an important aspect.
Data Integrity and Traceability
Imagine a clinical trial is going on and a patient is going to get some analysis done. The test data comes out as a lab report. Every lab report is maintained in a system managed by the pharma company. All the lab reports data is collated and is sent to the regulatory authorities to communicate the outcome. As part of audit and compliance, the authorities are not confident if the data is being tampered or not which might lead to mistrust. So the auditors visit the premises and validate the data. Blockchain could be a potential solution to improve this process. Every time a vital is collected and the data is taken can we create a hash and store it in the blockchain. Do this for all the patients. Share this with the authorities and send it with link to the hashes on the blockchain. If the data is being modified, then the hashes would not match which indicates discrepancy.
The other benefit which is an outcome of this process is that the data movement, access and ledger maintenance across lab Systems becomes smoother. This in turn will also lead to a process upgrade to the submission system for patent approval in addition to the Legal hold system on the data in case of disputes.
Supply chain tracking of drugs
Blockchain based track and trace, improves provenance and traceability across the supply chain. Counterfeit medicine is a big issue pharma companies face in their everyday operations since there are many stakeholders involved in the supply chain. So the problem statement at hand is,“Can we track the medicine from the source to the destination, working with all the stakeholders using blockchain?” Recall of drugs and avoiding counterfeit drugs from entering into legit marketplaces will help in reducing the losses and improving service delivery to the end customer. Patient access programs also form a very important business proposition for pharma companies. Most of the companies conduct drives around vaccination programs and administer drugs free of cost. They are not running well due to lot of practical reasons involving multiple mediators. Blockchain could be used to maintain the entire supply chain in healthcare.
How is Hyperledger helping?
One of Hyperledger’s incubated projects,Hyperledger Composer, offers a set of APIs, a modeling language and a programming model to quickly define and deploy business networks and applications that allow participants to send transactions that exchange assets. It is more like an IDE tool like Eclipse, but specific to Hyperledger. It is useful for developers since they need to work with models and visuals and let the tool manage the underlying smart contracts and networks. Hyperledger Composer uses extensive, familiar and open development toolset. It is very useful for solution developers and looks at blockchain through three aspects:
Participants – patients, doctors, insurance companies etc.
Assets – patient data, stakeholder data etc.
Transactions – Business rules which govern the exchange of assets
Blockchain technology has the potential to transform healthcare, placing the patient at the center of the healthcare ecosystem and increasing the privacy and interoperability of health data. This technology could provide a new model for health information exchanges (HIE) by making electronic medical records more secure by removing the need for multiple intermediaries.
With greater transparency, trust, and access to data, stakeholders can then also garner insights for better safety, effectiveness, quality, and security of drugs, vaccines, and medical devices. The promise of blockchain has widespread implications for stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem. While it is not a solution for all the health care technology issues, this new, rapidly evolving field provides fertile ground for experimentation, investment, and proof-of-concept testing showing good promise in terms of impact.
For those interested particularly in healthcare and blockchain, please join the Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group here. You can also plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. Be sure to follow Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: email@example.com.