The medical supply chain has always had problems around documentation, global deliverance and traceability. COVID-19 has shown us how important it is to plug the gaps in the medical supply chain and to address the vulnerabilities of supply shortages and procurement of medical supplies, gear and equipment. The pressure to meet this demand of critical demands brought to light faulty and fraudulent products like equipment and kits. This pressure to meet urgent demands is predicted to continue on health care supply chains especially when the demand for vaccines and effective treatments comes into production owing to the limited supply.
The industry is trying to combat these supply chain challenges with blockchain technology. The benefits of using this technology are numerous. Such as:
- Cost effective
- Easy to verify
- Speedy product authentication
- Trace and remove faulty/fraudulent/expired or damaged products
- Expose fraud
- Identify clogs and low supplies in supply chains
- Help redistribute inventory
- Reduce tensions between all members of a network
- Increase agility during crises and aid in efficient daily operations.
Companies can work together while maintaining control over their processes and data. Which means that the ledger is overlooked and governed by all members of a network instead of one company. Sensitive information doesn’t need to be shared and competitors can collaborate on a shared platform to verify products using barcode scanners and to authenticate and trace counterfeit products. The ledger can also flag and keep a record of suspicious activity to prevent black-marketeering.
As Blockchains technology depends on an ecosystem they can only prove to be truly beneficial when broadly adopted by a network and when physical systems work with it. More industry standards are needed to make use of leveraging global resources and fighting large-scale problems which blockchains can do effectively, efficiently and safely.