The Antifragility Effect: Deploying Emerging Tech in Medical Device Supply Networks to Rebuild Better

University College London Centre for Blockchain Technologies 2021

21 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2021

See all articles by Navroop K. Sahdev

Navroop K. Sahdev

Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Centre for Blockchain Technologies, University College London; Centre d'Économie de l'Université Paris-Nord

Gurvinder Ahluwalia

Digital Twin Labs

Mike Durrie

The Digital Economist

Date Written: September 9, 2021

Abstract

The research presented in this paper is aimed at determining how emerging technology and specifically blockchain can be deployed to improve the reliability of medical device supply chains. As the current pandemic crisis has clearly demonstrated, global supply chains have become highly efficient and cost-effective at the cost of agility. As the pandemic developed into a global crisis, the vulnerability of supply chains became apparent in the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) due to overreliance on a limited number of sources coupled with the challenge of stepping up production on short notice. In 2021, the shortage of medical oxygen in India revealed another vulnerability in that precious time was lost in pivoting the existing oxygen supply from industrial to medical usage. Over the centuries, and still today in military scenarios, supply chain security has hinged on stockpiling of goods and materials, an extremely costly and inefficient practice.

If the global medical device industry can learn from these shocks and adapt global supply chains for greater reliability and resilience, the end result will be positive – an antifragile response (Taleb, Nassim Nicholas 2012). We hypothesize that it is indeed possible to enhance supply chains without massive stockpiling based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain. A real-life example in Colombia with plans for rollout across Latin America demonstrates what this can look like in practice and adds weight to our hypothesis. However, more research and broader adoption of DLT and blockchain across medical device supply chains are required to realize the potential of technology to improve reliability, resilience and robustness.

Keywords: Technology, blockchain, healthcare, medical supplies, supply chain, distributed ledger technology, Colombia, Latin America, DLT, medical device supply chain, reliability, resilience, robustness, PPE, Personal Protective Equipment, pandemic, COVID-19, cost of agility

Suggested Citation

Sahdev, Navroop K. and Ahluwalia, Gurvinder and Durrie, Mike, The Antifragility Effect: Deploying Emerging Tech in Medical Device Supply Networks to Rebuild Better (September 9, 2021). University College London Centre for Blockchain Technologies 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3920490 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3920490

Navroop K. Sahdev (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://connection.mit.edu/

Centre for Blockchain Technologies, University College London ( email )

UCL Computer Science
Malet Place
London, London WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://blockchain.cs.ucl.ac.uk/

Centre d'Économie de l'Université Paris-Nord ( email )

France

Gurvinder Ahluwalia

Digital Twin Labs ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://digitaltwinlabs.com/

Mike Durrie

The Digital Economist ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

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