Swiss hospitals have trialled orders of medical devices via Blockchain, and were successfully processed.

The Cantonal Hospital Winterthur, the Cantonal Hospital Baden, the University Children’s Hospital Zurich and the Spitalregion Fürstenland Toggenburg together with the two medical device suppliers Anandic System Medical and ITRIS Medical carried out these orders on a trial basis. Xatena provided the infrastructure.

The path of a medical product becomes traceable

Today, the traceability of medical devices is hardly efficient and can hardly be guaranteed trustworthy for all parties. Various implant and counterfeit scandals have revealed that the risk is borne by the patients. The infrastructure tested by hospitals makes it possible to trace the route taken by a medical device. The transaction steps in the supply chain are stored in the blockchain in an unchangeable way and with a common consensus. With the new Medical Device Regulation (MDR), medical devices will always have to have a Unique Device Identification (UDI) number. This allows a medical device to be uniquely identified in the supply chain. The blockchain also makes it possible to track the transaction steps. 

Digital integration of all supply chain participants becomes feasible

The blockchain-based infrastructure allows the parties to place medical device orders without transaction intermediaries or direct connection. The network approach also allows the integration of all actors involved in the supply chain on a common basis of trust. In other words, from the manufacturer to smart logistics and, in the future, to the patient file, it will be possible to design a secure and traceable supply chain for medical devices. The technological and regulatory means are now in place to implement this vision for improved patient safety.

Industry standards on sustainable infrastructure

The order processing included all message formats required for the transaction in accordance with the GS1 standard (Switzerland: GS1 FG BiG Switzerland Ideal Message Healthcare, EDI 3.1 XML), which is aimed at in the healthcare sector. The Blockchain is a Permissioned Blockchain based on hyperledger technology. The infrastructure was developed by Xatena in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, course of studies in computer science.

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