Health companies launch FDA-approved blockchain pilot

A pilot that aims to study the use of blockchain-enabled data technology to track and verify specialty prescription drugs has been approved by the FDA.

The pilot, which includes a consortium of technology companies, healthcare operators, association groups and more, will focus on intra- and inter-health system medication transport and usage in three states: North Carolina, Indiana and Tennessee. The supply monitoring has the potential to improve quality control of medicine, provide data for more targeted inventory and recall management and even save lives, according to the announcement.

The test implementation of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act will start in August 2019.

The group of companies involved in the pilot include Rymedi, Temptime/Zebra, Indiana University Health, WakeMed Health & Hospitals, Good Shepard Pharmacy, the Center for Supply Chain Studies and the Global Health Policy Institute.

The group also aims to advance best practices for healthcare system data sharing and coordination through the pilot.

Pariticpants in the pilot will provider various levels of support, including data platforms. The Global Health Policy Institute at the University of California San Diego will provide design and evaluation support to understand how the pilot can impact policy and industry standards development. Indiana University, which is the largest hospital network in Indiana, and WakeMed Health & Hospitals, which provides health service in Raleigh, North Carolina, will implement the blockchain solution across their provider networks and transfers to other provider networks.

"Its applications have the potential to make a positive impact across the full spectrum of the healthcare continuum––from data integrity and pharmaceutical supply chain to improved patient safety and health outcomes,” Diana Rhyne, executive director for WakeMed Innovations, said in a statement.