Healthcare IT organizations across the nation consistently take a proactive stance towards security and data integrity. With the rise of cryptocurrencies and peer-to-peer payment mechanisms comes the introduction of blockchain. Blockchain technology is rightfully and quickly becoming a hot topic in the healthcare IT space. Given the sensitive nature of the data that healthcare IT systems persist, the promises of blockchain become incredibly compelling.
RXTransparent is committed to providing our customers with industry-leading supply chain optimization software geared towards delivering best-in-class capabilities while adopting and implementing new and innovative technologies. Blockchain is one of the many innovations we are proud to be able to deliver to our customers.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a set of technologies that creates a mechanism to store blocks of data with cryptographic signatures. These signatures act as unique identifiers which are used to verify the payload while creating reference pointers to other blocks in the chain (hence the name). Any tampering with the payload automatically invalidates the signatures and the chain of reference pointers instantly. There are many other aspects of blockchain, such as distribution and mining, that we will not cover in this post for the sake of brevity. For those looking to dive deeper into those concepts, wikipedia has a detailed article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin#Blockchain.
From a data integrity perspective, a mutable key seems counterintuitive. Canonical database writings generally accept the notion that keys should be immutable making the design of blockchain somewhat controversial. However, it is this very feature that makes data integrity more reliable with blockchain. Any malicious data hacking would require that the attacker have access to large amounts of compute capabilities in order to rewrite all of the blocks in the chain as well as force all of the participating nodes to accept the new data. Ultimately, any inconsistent transactions broadcast by malicious nodes are easily and quickly identified as the validation of the majority wins for all participating nodes. In other words, it would be virtually impossible to invalidate blockchain transactions as there are many copies of validated transactions across the network.
RXTransparent and Blockchain
As a leader in the healthcare supply chain optimization space, RXTransparent has embraced blockchain by strategically integrating the technology into its DSCSA Compliance track and trace platform. The ability to track and trace the chain-of-custody of any given drug is among the key drivers behind our motivation to adopt the use of blockchain. RXTransparent has implemented blockchain mechanisms for pedigree tracking and non-repudiation purposes making RXTransparent the first compliance software in the healthcare supply chain optimization space to do so.
The DSCSA and RXTransparent are committed to ensuring the integrity of pedigree data as drugs progress through the supply chain. It is clear that any organization participating in the drug supply chain must reshape their data persistence practices to be able to comply with the DSCSA as well as harden their data storage security to implement technologies such as blockchain. The engineering teams behind the RXTransparent platform continue to make progress on delivering solutions geared toward compliance requirements as well as looking to new technologies that help to advance data integrity and security.
RXTransparent Ecosystem Innovations
We will soon be pioneering the concept of a centralized private ledger between supply chain trading parties utilizing blockchain mechanisms built in the RXTransparent ecosystem. Recognizing and understanding the complex technical challenges with data integrity in supply chain trading activities, we are now building a ledger that will record trading activities of participating parties.
The future of supply chain trading is being shaped by realities that are driven by legislation adopted in 2013 known as the DSCSA (drug supply chain security act). Increasingly, decentralized approaches to managing supply chain security are emerging forcing many hospital systems to implement costly ineffective systems that only address the most basic aspects of the legislation.
RXTransparent is building a platform and go-to-market strategy that embraces these realities and introduces new and innovative ways to help our customers excel in their supply chain aspirations.
By Randolph Cabral, VP of Engineering, RXTransparent
As Vice President of Engineering, Mr. Cabral regularly contributes engineering and technology articles for RXTransparent’s website.