Blockchain technology is a still emerging field that is seeing increased usage beyond its conception in decentralized banking. One field where that poses a unique challenge for blockchain adoption is healthcare, where data security of Protected Health Information (PHI) is of utmost importance.

Blockchain diagram 2

This project, which leverages The Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework, seeks to design a system for managing pharmaceutical supplies among participating healthcare entities.

Fabric’s permissioned design and multi-signature transaction confirmation ensures that no individual participant in the network may finalize a transfer of information, and only known and vetted participants may govern the network. This makes it possible for the system to be maintained by authorized individuals within the various healthcare domains, while also avoiding the downsides of centralized record keeping.

Leveraging smart contract capabilities allows for the development of functions that interact with the network when the proper parameters are met. This can be done in Go, JavaScript, or Java, and will provide the logic that drives the user experience. A web or mobile application can be developed that would act as an interface for a pharmacist to log and approve a transfer of a given quantity of controlled substance to a patient, and a method of that patient logging their daily intake.

The modular design of Hyperledger Fabric allows for the modification of its consensus, multi-signature, and permission systems as necessary, making it an ideal system to adapt and adjust as necessary.

Network Architecture:

A Fabric network follows a Organization-Peer format. For this implementation, an organization would represent a healthcare entity that is able to receive and prescribe pharmaceuticals. Each healthcare professional that would contribute to said incoming/outgoing supply would be represented as a peer within their respective organization.

Smart contracts can be deployed onto individual organizations, for management of transactions within one organization, or may also be deployed onto private channels between organizations, allowing for cross-organization transactions.

Workflow of Hyperledger Fabric

Current Work:

A test network is currently in development that allows communication on a private channel between two organizations. There is also a testing smart contract defined that verifies the ability to create and transfer assets across this private channel.

Future Work:

    • Development of a web interface that allows healthcare professionals to record and manage supply changes.
    • Development of a web interface that allows patients and pharmacists to interact with the blockchain.


Blockchain in Pharmaceutical Management