Automating Procurement Contracts in the Healthcare Supply Chain Using Blockchain Smart Contracts

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116 Scopus citations

Abstract

Effectively managing the healthcare supply chain (HCSC) process is crucial for healthcare providers not only during pandemics such as COVID-19 but also in their normal operations. Despite significant advances in new technologies and treatment options providers still suffer from poor procurement, ordering, forecasting, and distribution practices. Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) are an important stakeholder in HCSC and benefit providers with cost savings, volume discounts, and vendor selection. However, the current GPO contract process is time-consuming and lacks efficiency. Hence, our proposed solution integrates blockchain technology and decentralized storage to promote transparency, streamlines communication with stakeholders, and minimize the procurement timeline while avoiding pricing discrepancies and inaccuracies. Our solution connects all the stakeholders such as manufacturer, GPO, distributor, and provider using Ethereum network. In this paper, we propose a blockchain solution using smart contracts to automate the GPO contract process. We propose a generic framework for contracting process in the HCSC with detailed algorithms depicting various interactions among HCSC stakeholders. The smart contract code was developed and tested using Remix IDE and the code is publicly shared via Github. We discuss various security risks and present detailed cost analysis of various transactions incurred by the stakeholders. Our analysis demonstrates that the proposed blockchain-based solution is economically feasible as only a minimal transaction fee is expended by the stakeholders in the distributed network.

Original languageBritish English
Article number9363880
Pages (from-to)37397-37409
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Access
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Blockchain
  • blockchain applications
  • Ethereum
  • group purchasing organizations
  • healthcare supply chain
  • security analysis

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