Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Track and Trace Proof-of-Concept

Industry: Medical Prescription Manufacturing, Shipping and Logistics

Overview: Utilize Blockchain to create a trusted, immutable record for tracking shipments of highly regulated substances such as opioids.

Challenge: Tracking shipments of highly regulated products is often cumbersome with many parties involved in manual processes which opens the process up to a high potential for inaccuracy or fraud.

Solutions: Utilize a distributed ledger, on a Swirlds Hashgraph network to more accurately track shipments of highly regulated substances.

Technologies: Swirlds Hashgraph

 

Summary:

Within the pharmaceutical supply chain, regulatory compliance can place a massive burden on all parties. Many existing supply chains utilize manual processes that can drastically increase the possibility of manual errors and the potential for fraud. Since the introduction of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology, Shipping, Logistics, and Supply Chain tracking have become one of the most popular use cases.

This proof of concept we were able to demonstrate that Blockchain technology is an ideal solution for tracking and compliance. Within the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain, Blockchain can be used to create more transparency throughout the process, in addition to an immutable record to ensure safety requirements and regulations are being met and are in compliance. It was built as a demonstration for applying Swirlds Hashgraph technology to the regulated supply chain space.

UX Examples of Reports from Solution

DLT Solution for Medical Credentialing Tracking

Industry: Healthcare

Overview: The Customer wanted to integrate DLT into their existing medical credentials management platform in order to enhance trust in the information and reduce the amount of time required to verify credentials.

Challenge: Verifying medical credentialing is a very lengthy process in a highly regulated industry. In most cases the process can take weeks or even months to verify credentials, and many times has to be redone for verification purposes in each instance, such as medical professionals taking on other work-as is common in the field.

Solutions: Using the customer’s existing Salesforce application, TxMQ connected it to a distributed ledger network via REST API. The system includes an innovative mechanism for storing credential documents securely, with high availability.

Technologies: Salesforce, Swirlds Hashgraph, Java 8, CouchDB

 

Summary:

A Healthcare Practice Management organization wanted to add distributed ledger technology to their existing credential management platform. The client was looking for a way to shorten the lengthy credential verification process by enhancing trust in the credentials stored on the platform, while ensuring they were stored in a secure, tamper proof environment to avoid fraud and legal issues for their organization and clients.

A DLT solution quickly became the leading technology choice to underpin the solution and deliver the desired result. The Healthcare Practice Management organization had evaluated several blockchain-based platforms and found that they didn’t quite offer the needed stability, scalability, and high availability that was needed. For that reason they chose to utilize the technology from Swirlds, which uses Hashgraph with a unique Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus mechanism that is built into a private network.

DLT Applications: Tracking medication through the healthcare supply chain

This article was originally published by MCOL.com on 12/19. 

It’s no secret that we have a dangerous opioid epidemic in the United States, as well as in many other parts of the world. Efforts to address the issue have come from both industry and government entities alike. In 2017, there were 47,600 overdose deaths in the U.S. involving opioids, which led to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) declaring a healthcare crisis. In April 2017, HHS outlined an Opioid Strategy, which included, among other components, the desire to create methods to strengthen public health data reporting and collection to inform a real-time public health response as the epidemic evolves.

Opioids are strong pain medications that mimic the pain-reducing qualities of opium, and when used improperly, are extremely dangerous and highly addictive. The increasing epidemic has highlighted the need for organizations to keep secure, reliable and actionable product lifecycle data, ensuring that they can track the entire supply chain for sensitive medications. In addition to meeting regulatory compliance requirements, cost and efficiency benefits may also be realized through tighter tracking and better data. Most importantly, it can help to cut down on the lives that are lost because of opioids and other medications being misused.

Healthcare Supply Chains

When discussing technology integration in a highly regulated industry like healthcare, it is hard to find solutions that work to both reduce costs and improve efficiencies, while still maintaining high levels of security and usability. This is why many healthcare organizations are turning towards supply chain management for new solutions; it will still improve efficiencies and cost, but it rarely involves personal health information, making it easier to satisfy regulatory requirements. In cases that use blockchain or distributed ledger solutions, it can also use immutable data and analytics, which can address suppliers’ fears of being hacked or losing sensitive proprietary information. On top of that, supply chain management can provide results to healthcare organizations to ensure that the solution is working effectively. In a 2018 Global Healthcare Exchange survey, nearly 60 percent of respondents said that data and analytics improvements were their highest priority. Supply chain management has many benefits for healthcare organizations, without having to work around highly regulated and secure data.

Supply chain management involves tracking supplies from the distributors or manufacturers, all the way through the healthcare organization to the patients receiving the medication or supplies. Many organizations still track supplies by hand, which can result in high margins of error. Also, many healthcare management systems are not integrated with each other, which means that patients can take advantage of these systems and access dangerous medications more easily. As healthcare systems move beyond hospitals and into non-acute sites, supply chain management becomes increasingly complex and difficult to manage. With supply chain management, healthcare organizations can track down errors and find out who made the error and when. When prescription drugs are involved, this would include knowing which patients, physicians, or prescribers are abusing the system by accessing more pain medications and opioids than they actually require or by over-prescribing more than should be allowed. This can help end addictions and overdoses.

Distributed Ledger Technology Solution

Accurate, timely information is critical in any supply chain. In the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory oversight and the potential for serious consequences for patients make supply chain traceability even more important. The ability to assess the behavior of the participants—patients, providers, distributors, manufacturers and pharmacists—within the supply chain is a useful tool in the battle against substance abuse. Developing a controlled substance management system as a robust, compliant supply chain management solution can help to track the movement of orders and medications through the pharmaceutical supply chain, from manufacturer and distributor to pharmacy and patient. Participants generate activity daily by consuming medication and refilling their prescriptions when they run out. Similarly, pharmacies and distributors place orders when supplies run low. Building this solution on a distributed ledger technology such as Hashgraph allows for increased security, immutable, time-stamped data, fast throughput, and easy customization to meet the needs of healthcare providers. It can even be customized to flag violations of laws or best practices, such as refilling prescriptions too often or over-prescribing.

Distributed ledger solutions have the ability to enforce rules on each participant with regards to the amount of medication that can be consumed, manufactured, distributed or prescribed. Patients’ refills can be limited based on their needs. Physicians, pharmacies and distributors have limits on the amount of medication they can prescribe or order in a given period of time to ensure that they are not abusing the system either. Participants who exceed these set limits are flagged by the system and can be removed, meaning that they are no longer able to order, prescribe or refill specific substances. This system can track a number of elements or components. In this case, it could track the distributor, the manufacturer, the prescribing physician, the pharmacy, the medication or opioid, and the patient. Time-stamped, immutable data allows for healthcare organizations to easily see when an error or an abuse of the system took place.

Distributed leger solutions are built on a system of nodes and each node processes each transaction. Each record or transaction is signed using the signature of the previous transaction to guarantee the integrity of the chain or the ledger. This means that these systems are difficult to breach or hack. Although supply chain management does not directly use confidential patient health information, it is important that all solutions that are integrated into a healthcare system are secure to ensure that data cannot be manipulated, allowing for further abuse of dangerous medications.

Finding a Solution

To save lives, it is imperative to find effective solutions to issues facing healthcare and the opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, within this industry, it can be hard to innovate due to privacy and regulations. Distributed ledger technology has the chance to innovate and potentially save lives when implemented as a sensitive medication supply chain management system. Its high-security, transparency and immediate auditability makes it an effective solution to track how harmful medications are being abused and to put an immediate stop to these issues. Technology already exists to solve these problems; it is only a matter of the healthcare industry taking these solutions seriously and implementing them before more lives are lost.

 

Hedera Hashgraph – A Quick and Very Simple Explanation

What is Hedera Hashgraph?

Hedera Hashgraph is a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and consensus algorithm. Even though Hashgraph is actually a DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) it has been referred to as“Blockchain on Steroids” and “Blockchain 2.0” because it addresses many of the issues most DLT’s are currently facing with broader adoption.

Why do we need another DLT?

Hedera Hashgraph is a fast, fair and secure infrastructure to run Decentralized Applications or DApps. This technology is ridiculously fast, has a high throughput (potential for over one million transactions per second), and is asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerant (a-What?), and the only DLT that has a mathematically proven consensus mechanism.

Quick Answer: It works, it’s secure, and fixes the issues that have been holding back Blockchain from becoming a viable enterprise-grade technology since it’s inception.

Want to learn more about Hashgraph and other DLT’s reach out below and let us know. We’d love to talk about how to utilize Distributed Ledger Technologies to disrupt your industry by turning your use-case into a fully functioning Decentralized Application.

 

Introducing Aviator DLT by TXMQ’s DTG

In 2017, TxMQ’s Disruptive Technologies Group created Exo – an open-source framework for developing applications using the Swirlds Hashgraph consensus SDK. Our intention for Exo was to make it easier for Java developers to build Hashgraph and other DLT applications. It provided an application architecture for organizing business logic, and an integration layer over REST or Java sockets. Version 2 of the framework introduced a pipeline model for processing transactions and the ability to monitor transactions throughout their life cycle over web sockets.

TxMQ used Exo as the basis of work we’ve delivered for our customers, as well as the foundation for a number of proofs-of-concept. As the framework has continued to mature, we began to realize its potential as the backbone for a private distributed ledger platform.

By keeping the programming and integration model consistent, we are able to offer a configurable platform that is friendlier to enterprise developers who don’t come from a distributed ledger background. We wanted developers to be able to maximize the investment they’ve made in the skills they already have, instead of having to tackle the considerable learning curve associated with new languages and environments.

Enterprises, like developers, also require approachability – though from a different perspective. Enterprise IT is an ecosystem in which any number of applications, databases, APIs, and clients are interconnected. For enterprises, distributed ledger is another tool that needs to live in the ecosystem. In order for DLT to succeed in an enterprise setting, it needs to be integrated into the existing ecosystem. It needs to be manageable in a way that fits with how enterprise IT manages infrastructure. From the developer writing the first line of code for their new DApp all the way down to the team that manages the deployment and maintenance of that DApp, everyone needs tooling to help them come to grips with this new thing called DLT. And so the idea for Aviator was born!

Aviator is an application platform and toolset for developing DLT applications. We like to say that it is enterprise-focused yet startup-ready. We want to enable the development of private ledger applications that sit comfortably in enterprise IT environments, flattening the learning curve for everyone involved.

There are three components of Aviator: The core platform, developer tools, and management tools.

Think of the core platform as an application server for enterprise DApps. It hosts your APIs, runs your business logic, handles security, and holds your application data. Each of those components is meant to be configurable so Aviator can work with the infrastructure and skill-sets you already have. We’ll be able to integrate with any Hibernate-supported relational database, plus NoSQL datastores like MongoDB or CouchDB. We’ll be delivering smart contract engines for languages commonly used in enterprise development, like Javascript, Java, and C#. Don’t worry if you’re a Solidity or Python developer, we have you on our radar too. The core platform will provide a security mechanism based on a public key infrastructure, which can be integrated into your organization’s directory-based security scheme or PKI if one is already in place. We can even tailor the consensus mechanism to the needs of an application or enterprise.

Developing and testing DApps can be complicated, especially when those applications are integrated into larger architectures. You’re likely designing and developing client code, an API layer, business logic, and persistence. You’re also likely writing a lot of boilerplate code. Debugging an application in a complicated environment can also be very challenging. Aviator developer tools help to address these challenges. Aviator can generate a lot of your code from Open API (Swagger) documents in a way that’s designed to work seamlessly with the platform. This frees developers to concentrate on the important parts and cuts down on the number of bugs introduced through hand-coding. We’ve got tools to help you deploy and test smart contracts and more tools to help you look at the data and make sure everything is doing what is supposed to do. Finally, we’re working on ways to use those tools the way developers will want to use them, whether that’s through integrations with existing IDEs like Visual Studio Code or Eclipse, or in an Aviator-focused IDE.

The work doesn’t end when the developers have delivered. Deploying and managing development, QA, and production DLT networks is seriously challenging. DLT architectures include a number of components, deployed across a number of physical or virtual machines, scaled across a number of identical nodes. Aviator aims to have IT systems administrators and managers covered there as well. We’re working on a toolset for visually designing your DLT network infrastructure, and a way to automatically deploy that design to your physical or virtual hardware. We’ll be delivering tooling to monitor and manage those assets through our own management tooling, or by integrating into the network management tooling your enterprise may already have. This is an area where even the most mature DLT platforms struggle, and there are exciting opportunities to lower frictions when managing DLT networks through better management capabilities.

So what does this all mean for Exo, the framework that started our remarkable journey? For starters, it’s getting a new name and a new GitHub. Exo has become the Aviator Core Framework, and can now be found on TxMQ’s official GitHub at https://github.com/txmq. TxMQ is committed to maintaining the core framework as a free, open source development framework that anyone can use to develop applications based on Swirlds Hashgraph. The framework is a critical component of the Aviator Platform, and TxMQ will continue to develop and maintain it. There will be a path for applications developed on the framework to be deployed on the Aviator Platform should you decide to take advantage of the platform’s additional capabilities.

For more information on Aviator, please visit our website at http://aviatordlt.com and sign up for updates.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Up With Disruptive Enterprise Technologies

Staying Current with Enterprise Technology

2018 has been a very exciting year so far for Enterprise Technology. We see the steady migration from legacy systems to cloud and other flexible platforms. The new kids on the block, Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), Hyperledger, Ethereum, and Hashgraph have been making huge strides. We now are seeing more ideas and use-cases coming to fruition through POC’s, moving one step closer to fulfilling the promise of DLT as a viable enterprise platform and TxMQ’s Disruptive Technology Group is helping to prove it.

Are you a disruptor or just waiting to be disrupted?

I was recently speaking with an IT Leader of a large corporation talking about the future of Technology…IoT, AI, and of course Blockchain/DLT. As we started to talk about Blockchain I asked him if they had any plans for it, he said: “Yes!, I plan to laugh at the people who think Blockchain will matter in a year.” Of course, he was being sarcastic but I was disturbed by his comment. At TxMQ we believe that emerging technologies should matter to folks who make it their profession. Every IT Leader should understand the benefits of Blockchain, and the potential disruptive power of all newer technologies. New technologies need to be evaluated on how they might change your business and your industry. If you’re a Technology or Business leader in any industry, and you’re not looking to the future you are just waiting to be put out of business.

For all you skeptics out there: at this point, it’s not a question of if, but when Blockchain or another DLT will disrupt your industry and change the way you do business.

It may not help you buy that Lambo you’ve had your eye on, but it will change both your business and industry by streamlining processes, increasing transparency in supply chains and transactions, and even create new revenue streams.

As an IT solutions provider with almost 40 years helping clients large and small maintain IT resources, integrate solutions, and prepare for the future of technology, TxMQ is working harder than ever to ensure that you are equipped for the next evolution of the technology within your industry so you can offer customers the best service, improved products, and remain competitive.

With this in mind, we recently launched our Disruptive Technologies Group led by industry veteran Craig Drabik. Despite years of head-banging to Death Metal groups like Tool, Pantera, and even the occasional Winger album (don’t judge), he has maintained genius technical abilities and an impeccable work ethic that has helped us make groundbreaking achievements in the DLT space.

Currently, TxMQ DTG is working on several revolutionary projects focusing on DLT, creating new ways to track & trace, share confidential information, and process transactions. You may have already heard about our Partnership with Intiva Health. This is a very interesting project which gave us the opportunity to be one of the first Salesforce Developers to replace the data layer within Salesforce.com with Distributed Ledger Technology, leveraging its benefits. With this integration, users are able to securely manage credentials, shortening the time for validation, saving hundreds of hours, and potentially save so much money that even your CFO would blush.

When all is said and done, Distributed Ledger Technologies, when applied correctly to the right use case, can drastically improve the way you do business. While it is true that there is nothing that Blockchain or other DLT’s can do now that “traditional” technologies can’t do, but it may just be the right tool for the process you are looking to improve. If you could use a toaster, why would you use the oven to toast a piece of bread?…with new technologies, new efficiencies are realized.

If you haven’t had a chance yet to learn about DLT, reach out to us or visit us at DTG.TxMQ.com for more info. While it may not be on the Final Exam, you do need to know what this is and how it applies to your business…or you could just wait for the next fresh-faced kid with decent coding skills to take over your industry. No pressure.