Premier, Pfizer, McKesson, others join blockchain working group

Some of the biggest names in healthcare and life sciences have signed on to a new blockchain initiative meant to smooth the efficiency of healthcare contracting.

AmerisourceBergen, Pfizer, Premier, and McKesson are participating in the MediLedger Project Contracting and Chargebacks working group, part of an initiative of San Francisco-based Chronicled, a startup that helps healthcare organizations and others builds blockchain-powered supply chain networks.

The complexity of pharmaceutical sales via wholesale distributors today, “with pricing and eligibility contracts negotiated separately, and parties made whole on the price difference through a chargeback framework,” could stand to be ironed out a bit better, according to Chronicled.

The aim of MediLedger is to streamline information sharing across parties – linking them on a common blockchain based network and automating contract reconciliation and chargeback processes.

The MediLedger network is set to go live later this year, officials said.

It’s built around open protocols, with data kept safe behind a firewall. Rather than a central repository of data, the blockchain cryptographically connects records, enabling robust privacy protections.

“It’s distributed, it’s decentralized, and the data is private,” explained Chronicled CEO Susanne Somerville in a statement. “Even though Chronicled is providing the technology, industry users operate the software themselves.”

There is no shortage of potentially transformative use cases for blockchain in healthcare, and many across the industry are pursuing them in earnest. From Silicon Valley startups to Washington policymakers, everyone is innovating how distributed ledger technology can be put to work enabling efficient data transfer with failsafe privacy protections.

Supply chain management, of course, is one of the areas where it has the most potential.

In the fragmented and complicated hospital setting, efficient tracking of pharmacy orders and other critical resources is essential, and blockchain is already proving its worth in pilot projects.

“For supply chains where participants are not known or trusted, blockchain technology can add trust, transparency, and traceability,” a recent McKinsey report explained. “Almost by definition, these supply chains are complex, multi-tiered, involve many parties, and they operate in a regulated environment that demands a higher level of traceability.”

“These are the things we believe a blockchain should be used for,” said Chronicled CTO Maurizio Greco, in a statement. “Blockchain technology, in the context of MediLedger, ensures that there is one source of truth.”

“This innovative approach has the potential to transform how chargebacks work for the industry, allowing us to deliver better services to our members,” added Bill Marquardt, vice president of product strategy and planning for Premier. “We are excited to collaborate with our partners to deliver these improvements.”

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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