Senior officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) discussed how the new HHS Accelerate blockchain, the first blockchain to receive an authority to operate (ATO), can help the department improve acquisitions through greater visibility during Sunday’s episode of Government Matters.

“We’ve always struggled with the access to data, access to real-time data, or we’ve been forced into one specific business process,” said Jose Arrieta, associate deputy assistant secretary of acquisition at HHS.  “We’ve created a standardized set of data, and we decentralized the execution off that data, leveraging a microservices strategy, to actually empower the acquisition workforce.”

His colleague Michael McFarland, director of the Office of Acquisition Business Systems at HHS, explained what the ATO will mean for the acquisition workforce.

“They’re going to have unprecedented access to prices paid, vendor data, and to other acquisitions that have been done, so that they’ll be able to make decisions with a great deal more information than they have had available to them before,” said McFarland. He explained how HHS Accelerate would expand access to data across the department, and make existing data much more manageable.

To get the ATO, the HHS Accelerate blockchain had to pass Federal Information Security Modernization Act requirements. It also gives the department an opportunity to work with live data.

While HHS may be the first to receive an ATO for blockchain in the Federal government, speakers anticipated that they would not be the last. When asked if the solution could be implemented at other agencies, Arrieta offered a succinct and emphatic response.

“Absolutely, 100 percent.”

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