National Association of Government Contractors


HHS Tests Blockchain Tech for Contract Management

The Department of Health and Human Services plans to test Accelerate, it’s blockchain-based acquisition portal, at some point this Fall. HHS is aiming for a rollout by the beginning of the year.
 
Accelerate is first blockchain-based program in the federal government to receive the “green light” of an authority to operate certification. 
 
Jose Arrieta of Health and Human Services, in remarks at a recent tech summit, announced that HHS has been working on developing microservices for the agency’s blockchain and artificial intelligence-infused acquisition portal.
 
Saying using Accelerate contracting officials will have capabilities based on the deep database acquisition data from the agency’s five acquisition systems that will drive automatic pricing breaks used by major retailers.
 
Arrieta went on to describe the system as analogous to retailers that allow consumers to cost-reference prices in the marketplace to offer the most competitive pricing. Accelerate is due to be tested by this October, with plans to implement in January 2020.
 
Other agencies will be permitted to utilize some of Accelerate’s top-level capabilities in their acquisitions. The platform’s core node that supports the business service layer adheres to the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the General Services Administration’s category management initiative. Agencies can build their own custom microservices based on the core and business service layer.
 
Additional, future uses of blockchain technologies are also in development at HHS, as Arietta also referenced also work with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) on a blockchain-based behavioral-based identity management pilot.
 
Although this program is still at the discussion stage of development, the imagined system would use interlaced identity points to lock down access without using more vulnerable passwords or user names. This proposed system would combine biometrics and behavioral information as a foundation to provide secure access to a variety of networks and devices to health workers, including first responders in the field and doctors in the operating room.
 
Arrieta said such security uses of block chain tech, could be loaded onto a $7 phone dongle attached to a smart phone providing more secure, less cumbersome and costly identity access to networks and devices -acknowledging that workforce engagement might be a barrier to deployment of new tech.



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