Blockchain in healthcare updates
Trust Your Supplier is a network “designed to improve supplier qualification, validation, onboarding and life cycle information management.” It look like IBM and Chainyard cocreated this network, and it also boasts Anheuser-Busch InBev, Cisco GlaxoSmithKline, Lenovo, Nokia, Schneider Electric and Vodafone as founding members. Trust Your Supplier allows organizations within their network to reuse verified documents, which reduces administrative overheard and shortens onboarding and procurement times.
The idea is similar in concept to that of the physician credentialing use case of ProCredEx, or the anti-money laundering use case of Cambridge Blockchain. In this family of use cases a blockchain is used to immutably timestamp the verification of information by one party such that others can reuse that information in their work flows. Sharing credentials in this way is particularly valuable in domains which have standardized artifacts, rules, and validation checks for due diligence processes. One such area is in the on boarding of suppliers in pharma where there are a range of GxP guidelines and regulations to comply with.
So, it is not surprising to see GlaxoSmithKline among the founding members. But one has to ask what supplier information would pharma giant GSK have to share with beverage giant Anheuser-Busch InBev or energy management company Schneider Electric. Perhaps the answer is nothing and instead this press release was an announcement intended to garner interest in others to join the network.
What I’m reading this weekend
AveXis, a gene therapy company Novartis acquired in mid-2018, disclosed to the FDA that it had discovered that data which had been submitted to the FDA in a bid for approval had been manipulated. This was only revealed a month after the gene therapy in question had been approved. Specifically, data generated in an earlier animal testing procedure had been manipulated, but as far as we know no data concerning human research subjects was manipulated. The FDA in turn issued a public statement rebuking AveXis and is considering action they can take, including criminal or civil penalties. This makes a good case for the usage of a blockchain to verify the integrity of sensitive data. The FDA has a pilot on going for the usage of emerging tech (including but not limited to blockchains) to comply with DSCSA, I’d like to see a similar construct for usages of blockchains in clinical trials.
Ross Campbell had an interesting tweet storm where he demonstrated how in a few clicks you could create tokens redeemable for your services and sell them. If anyone wants an hour of his “legal engineering” services you can now buy them on Uniswap. The cool thing is that he did this by leveraging open source tools like MetaMask (wallet/UI), OpenLaw (“legal protocol” for blockchains), and Uniswap (exchange). So, anyone reading this could do something similar if you were willing to learn about the above tools.
The blockchain community is full of open source tools like the ones referenced above. These are interesting because they provide building blocks that you can easily leverage, either building on top of something, or combining several “building blocks” to enable something entirely new that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, like what Ross did. This landscape is ripe for “combinatorial innovation” and makes me excited for what the community will produce in the future.