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What is a Digital Trust Ecosystem?

The PharmaLedger Association’s Vision:
PLA exists to connect, protect, empower, build and sustain Healthcare 4.0 by enabling a Digital Trust Ecosystem in Healthcare (DTE-H) to solve problems that can’t be solved by single organizations.

A Digital Trust Ecosystem involves an interdependent group of actors (enterprises, people, things) sharing standardized digital platforms to achieve a mutually beneficial purpose, underpinned with cryptographic trust (i.e., blockchain). 

In short, a Digital Trust Ecosystem in Healthcare (DTE-H) is the external framework through which we achieve a better healthcare experience for all stakeholders, especially patients.

Digital Trust Ecosystems can exist in other industries as well. Governmental DTEs and DTEs in finance, for example, form separate but overlapping ecosystems to DTEs in healthcare.

When the PharmaLedger Association (PLA) was legally formed in March 2022, the original PharmaLedger project consortium members endorsed PLA as inheritor of its use cases and steward for carrying forward the project’s vision. PLA aims to support a DTE-H in order to achieve the objectives of accelerating innovation and adoption of digital healthcare solutions in a patient-centric and industry-enabling way. 

Ecosystem-wide problems demand ecosystem-wide solutions, and as a not-for-profit, membership-based, pre-competition umbrella association, PLA is positioned to lead the charge with input and collaboration from all members of the DTE-H. 

Solutions that benefit all stakeholders exist, and PLA is committed to bringing them to fruition.

Learn more about PLA.

Why Is It Called an Ecosystem?

Why is the word ecosystem in the term DTE-H? Because there are many actors in healthcare with different purposes, perspectives, and objectives, and the actors are interdependent. Their actions affect other actors in the ecosystem. 

One way to think of a DTE is as a delicately balanced, encrypted web built on trust and collaboration.

To build and sustain Healthcare 4.0, it is not sufficient to focus on just one actor. Healthcare solutions that focus solely on protecting the bottom line of manufacturers, for example, do not always take into account effects on patients, providers, or pharmacists. 

On the other hand, patient-centric solutions created in isolation from the rest of the ecosystem often fail to reach scale and achieve sustainable implementation by the relevant actors in healthcare. A DTE-H is our solution to address the disconnect between actors, and PLA is the neutral ground where collaborative solutions that can scale and comply with healthcare regulations are developed and launched.

PLA’s work includes and considers all members of the ecosystem, especially patients, when researching, developing and deploying solutions.

What Does a DTE-H Achieve?

A successful DTE-H improves, supports, and sustains the modern digital healthcare experience. Through collaborative innovation, new healthcare solutions are built not to replace but to connect, adding value for all.

Take a look at the image below to learn more about who, what, and how a DTE-H connects, protects, empowers, builds, and sustains.

A successful DTE-H produces real-world results via collaboration. In April 2023 PLA announced the launch of its first product, ePI by PharmaLedger. The product allows patients and providers easy access to the most recently approved medical product information via a simple smartphone scan. 

ePI by PharmaLedger features a unique channel for patients and healthcare professionals and secure infrastructure for the industry, and the solution is fully compliant with GXP standards and regulatory requirements.

ePI by PharmaLedger grew from the input and collaboration of pharmaceutical companies, patient organizations, and technology and regulatory SMEs, with no single actor holding undue influence over the direction of innovation or the features of the final product. In this way, our DTE-H and the solutions produced within it are decentralized, mirroring one of blockchain technology’s key strengths: the transfer of power from a central entity to a distributed network.

How Does a DTE-H Support the Mission of PLA Going Forward?

The PharmaLedger Association’s Mission:
PLA aims to provide a global governance, compliance and operating model that enables innovation and inspires collaboration among healthcare stakeholders.

PLA promises a venue for innovation and collaboration, where ideas become real-world healthcare solutions. The roadmap for the future extends far beyond ePI, and members of PLA have the opportunity to guide the association’s priorities going forward. Depending on each member organization’s level of commitment and internal priorities, they can participate in research, ideation, development, prototyping, incubation, and dissemination.

PLA coordinates the development process to ensure all ecosystem members have a voice. As part of product development PLA completes a full, professional software qualification process. PLA members receive a fully qualified package for internal deployment, saving time and money and enabling easier adoption.

PLA organizes its project and product portfolios into the following platforms:

  • Product Trust provides a secure and transparent platform for product information sharing and drives new levels of trust, efficiency, and patient safety in the healthcare industry. Product Trust includes PLA’s first qualified product, ePI by PharmaLedger, as well as the Detecting Falsified Medicines projects portfolio.
  • Decentralized Trials aims to transform the clinical trials industry by leveraging cutting-edge technology to streamline and digitalize the trials process using Verifiable Credentials, Decentralized Identifiers (DID), and product digital twins.
  • Supply Chain Traceability seeks to increase visibility and resilience in the pharmaceutical supply chain. With a focus on Finished Goods and Clinical Supply Chain traceability, this project aims to ensure that pharmaceutical products are safe, reliable, and delivered in a timely manner.

How Can an Organization Become a Member of PLA and Participate in the DTE-H?

PLA is open for membership to any organization with a connection to healthcare. This includes:

  • Manufacturers
  • Distributors and Wholesalers
  • Healthcare Service Providers
  • Healthcare Organisations
  • Academia
  • Standards Organisations
  • Nonprofits
  • Patient Organisations
  • Healthcare & Technology Experts

Members are grouped by class, with provisions for seats on the Board of Directors for all classes:

  • Standard members, represented by up to five seats on the Board of Directors
  • Public Partners, not-for-profit or public organizations including NGOs, represented by two seats on the board
  • Patient Organizations, represented by two seats on the board
  • PLA Patrons, with a guaranteed board seat

After evaluation, membership admission requires completion of a Membership Agreement. Once complete, members may choose to adopt specific PLA products, operate nodes on the PLA network, take part in new developments, submit ideas for new solutions, fund specific projects, add existing solutions to PLA’s portfolio for launch and adoption growth, and more.

Together, PLA members participate in the DTE-H that will move us forward to a Healthcare 4.0 experience that is digitally trusted, privacy preserving, patient-centric, and industry-enabling. In short, a better healthcare experience for all.