Critical Care Equipment Management Reimagined in an Emergency


  • Winston Yong RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
  • Anya Kundakchian RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA



Blockchain, emerging technology, supply chain, critical care equipment


Summary: The COVID19 pandemic created a surge in demand for critical care equipment against a backdrop of fast-moving geographic virus hotspots. A team from IBM Europe was put together to prove that a devolved healthcare system can be rapidly bridged by a mix of advanced and legacy technologies to provide a federated view of critical care equipment deployment and use during an emergency. This was achieved with the deployment of predictive analytics and blockchain, integrated with conventional hospital management system. The corollary investigation determined the manner in which this system can be harnessed in a postemergency recovery to provide a national supply chain efficiency backbone.

Method: During a period of 2 weeks, a team of IBM consultants set up a technology sandbox environment to represent a network of an equipment manufacturer, a central national emergency monitoring center, and several hospitals managed by their respective trust organization. Within this environment, a hospital asset management system, Maximo, was configured to manage and track critical care equipment within a hospital; a blockchain traceability platform, IBM’s Blockchain Transparency System, was configured to ingest multiple hospital data reports; and a predictive analytic dashboard, Watson Analytics, would retrieve data from the blockchain platform to supplement other data sources to provide national views and support decision-making for the supply and movement of equipment. Three key principles in the design of this environment are speed, reuse, and minimal intrusion.

Results: The hypothesis was to test whether the chosen technologies can overcome the challenges of misaligned demand and supply of critical care equipment during a national emergency. The execution of the tests led to successful simulation of three scenarios: (1) the tracking of the location and usage history of any single equipment that has been placed into the network; (2) the movement of equipment between independent hospitals is recorded and reported; (3) a real-time interrogation of the current location and status of all registered equipment.

Conclusions: The successful completion of this proof of concept has demonstrated that emerging technology can be used to overcome poor macro level coordination and planning, which are the drawbacks of a devolved healthcare system. The corollary was that this proof also demonstrated that blockchain technology can be used to prolong the useful life of conventional technology.


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How to Cite

Yong, W., & Kundakchian, A. (2020). Critical Care Equipment Management Reimagined in an Emergency. Blockchain in Healthcare Today, 3.



Proof of Concept/Pilots/Methodologies