Jose Arrieta, associate deputy assistant secretary for the HHS Division of Acquisition

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HHS gets ATO for blockchain-based acquisition system

The Department of Health and Human Services' blockchain-powered acquisition system received its Authority to Operate on Dec. 10. HHS Accelerate, which used distributed-ledger technology, machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver real-time information on pricing and terms and conditions from across HHS, can now go into production with live data.

The ATO had been expected, but the Accelerate team was still "pumped" to be able to officially move forward, Jose Arrieta, associate deputy assistant secretary for the HHS Division of Acquisition said. "This is the first blockchain-powered ATO [in the federal government] and the first for public procurement in the world."

At an FCW event on automation and cybersecurity earlier this year, Arrieta described how Accelerate could help other agencies automate and improve their business processes while running a blockchain layer on top of the legacy systems.

"I believe that there’s a unique opportunity now to actually layer your existing systems with a high-powered middleware. … you can let your existing operating environment deliver services and you can build micro-services off of your data layer to modernize your business systems at the same time."

On Dec. 12, HHS will hold a virtual demonstration of the technology where industry participants can ask questions and provide feedback.

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