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A Healthy Start: First Commercial Use Case Highlights the Cryptographically Verifiable LEI’s Value in Creating Digital Trust

As a collaboration between GLEIF and PharmaLedger pioneers vLEI use to support the design and adoption of blockchain-enabled healthcare solutions, GLEIF explores the potential offered by the vLEI for bringing digital trust to use cases in healthcare and beyond.

Author: Stephan Wolf

  • Date: 2022-06-30
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According to a McKinsey & Company study, with Covid-19 the public health crisis accelerated digital initiatives by up to seven years. Certainly, the need to ‘live life online’, both professionally and personally, in recent pandemic-fuelled years has highlighted the critical importance of having access to worldwide systems and platforms that are inherently trusted, and which promote cooperation and innovation between stakeholders globally.

Yet trust is hard won in today’s digital-first environment. In business, online documents and remote communications are now the norm. The absence of a single, open and universal protocol that allows the authenticity of information and data sources to be verified has left organizations to fend for themselves when making decisions about who and what they can and cannot trust.

And perhaps nowhere is the need for trust felt more keenly than in the global healthcare industry, an industry where people’s lives literally depend on the ability to quickly and accurately discern if an entity is and does what it claims to do.

The current rate of digital transformation, together with the growth in the global digital economy, has created an urgent unmet need for greater security, convenience, and ease-of-use in digital identity for organizations and the persons that represent them in either official or functional roles. Specifically, advances are needed in the fields of strong authentication, identity verification, and proof of data authenticity. The pace of digital transformation sweeping through the world’s economies demands that we find an open, commercially neutral, and global solution to the issues of security, convenience, and ease-of-use that are challenging the field of digital organizational identity. The vLEI is that solution. It has the potential to revolutionize secure identity management across the internet, safeguarding digital engagements and transactions for businesses in every industry.

To help address the need for a digitally trusted ecosystem for global healthcare stakeholders, GLEIF has partnered with PharmaLedger, a project sponsored by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

As a result of the collaboration, PharmaLedger has made the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) a critical component of a new healthcare service blockchain platform. It will be one of the first service providers globally to integrate the verifiable LEI (vLEI), GLEIF’s new digital organizational identity credential into its system. The vLEI, the digital counterpart of the LEI, will be used by PharmaLedger to establish real-time digital trust between participants on its blockchain. An early use case will also be part of a trial in a multi-country, industry-wide initiative to digitize product information for patients. Here, the vLEI will be used to identify the manufacturer of the product of each pharmaceutical leaflet.

This early use case demonstrates just a few of the potential benefits the vLEI will deliver to businesses worldwide by fostering greater levels of trust.

Operational efficiencies

Benefitting everyone from manufacturers to patients, the digital trust enabled by the vLEI promises to vastly increase the operational efficiency of the global healthcare industry in PharmaLedger’s case. It will also enhance the digital exchange of data and documentation related to a wide range of healthcare use cases, impacting everything from clinical drug trials to supply chain partnerships.

For example, through the PharmaLedger platform, regulators and manufacturers can expedite the development and approval processes and then digitally release critical product information to patients. The system also will allow regulators to approve medicine leaflets more quickly and efficiently. Imagine being able to scan a medicine product’s box with your smartphone to obtain the latest approved digitized leaflet and be confident that the document is authentic. Innovative applications like this are only possible when all participants adopt the same form of digital identity. The collaboration between GLEIF and PharmaLedger is making this a reality.

If greater digital trust was available within the wider global economy, it would potentially optimize a wide variety of use cases. From customs and border control checks to supply chain due diligence processes; from applying and vetting trusted network memberships to securing the remote execution of business contracts. The possibilities are endless.

Instant onboarding

The use of the vLEI will also enable healthcare firms to onboard onto the PharmaLedger blockchain almost instantly and allow them to initiate partnerships quickly with other firms on the ledger. At the same time, it instills confidence in these firms since they know that identity credentials have been robustly verified. Perhaps even more crucially, this model also permits authorized representatives of participating companies to securely and digitally authorize the exchange of sensitive, siloed information with other partners in line with the rules that govern such exchanges.

As Daniel Fritz, PharmaLedger Industry Project Lead, explains: “PharmaLedger needs to identify and verify companies and their representatives so that we can be sure that the firms joining the blockchain, together with the people authorizing the data being exchanged, are who they say they are. All blockchain-based data is immutable, of course, but now that we have the vLEI, we can also be sure that there are no false companies onboarding and initiating transactions. It also gives participants the opportunity to create trading relationships almost instantaneously, since everyone is armed with a hallmark of trust.”

Beyond healthcare, the vLEI can optimize onboarding across many different sectors and types of organizations. Financial services and other providers of regulated services will benefit greatly from using the vLEI to streamline and accelerate client and partner onboarding and ongoing transactions. And any type of trading or data exchange platform, no matter how big or small, can replicate the trusted identity foundation that will underpin the Pharmaledger model.

A new level of trust for a new era of digital identities

The collaboration between GLEIF and PharmaLedger answers an urgent and unmet need for greater security, convenience, and ease-of-use in digital identity for healthcare organization. Yet it is only the beginning.
PharmaLedger serves as an early-stage example of how the vLEI is transforming the field of organizational identity, to the benefit of all sectors, everywhere and new use cases are being discovered every day. As the vLEI ecosystem expands, it will give government organizations, companies, and many other legal entities worldwide access to non-repudiable identification data pertaining to their legal status, ownership structure, and authorized representatives across all their digital business activities and provide trusted services and open, reliable data for unique legal entity identification worldwide.

If you see potential for the vLEI in your industry, GLEIF welcomes and encourages open conversations to explore how to leverage the vLEI identity verification in future applications, services, and business models.

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About the author:

Stephan Wolf is the CEO of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF). In 2023, he was elected as a member of the Board of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Germany. In 2021, he was appointed to an all-new Industry Advisory Board (IAB) as part of the global ICC Digital Standards Initiative (DSI). In that capacity, he serves as co-chair of the workstream on ‚Trusted Technology Environment‘. Between January 2017 and June 2020, Mr. Wolf was Co-convener of the International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 68 FinTech Technical Advisory Group (ISO TC 68 FinTech TAG). In January 2017, Mr. Wolf was named one of the Top 100 Leaders in Identity by One World Identity. He has extensive experience in establishing data operations and global implementation strategy. He has led the advancement of key business and product development strategies throughout his career. Mr. Wolf co-founded IS Innovative Software GmbH in 1989 and served first as its managing director. He was later named spokesman of the executive board of its successor, IS.Teledata AG. This company ultimately became part of Interactive Data Corporation, where Mr. Wolf held the role of CTO. Mr. Wolf holds a university degree in business administration from J. W. Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main.

Tags for this article:
Verifiable LEI (vLEI), Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF), Digital Identity, LEI Business Case