The digital transformation over the decades developed into a storm sweeping the shores and transforming the various fields like retail, banking, media, transport, etc. Another industry that has recently joined the above list by being hit by the storm is the healthcare industry with pharmaceutical companies becoming no exception to it. The advancements in technology and its innovations like cloud computing, mobile communications, advanced analytics and the internet of things have started transforming the healthcare industry just like the way it had transformed diverse fields across the globe.
The recent trends have been reshaping the healthcare industry in ways it was never imagined and have been fueling the push towards the growth and success rate. The pharma industry had witnessed an impact on the entire product life cycle starting from the early drug development to delivery and finally patient care. Digitalization in pharma industry now has just gone beyond the drug; it’s no longer providing the drugs alone but services as well. Below are few advancements in healthcare and pharma industry that made the users think ‘beyond the pill’.
The Pharma Internet of Things platform helps the industry to move away from the conventional manual testing and embrace innovation to overcome quality issues. IoT can be used to digitally transform Pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply chain. During the drug development process, digital packaging can be used to ensure drug integrity and traceability across the supply chain, whereas temperature sensing tags can be used to monitor cold chain conditions and thus ensure and maintain product quality in transit.
Electronic Health Records
An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart which contains the medical and treatment histories of patients. Use of EHRs makes information available instantly and securely to authorized users. Any patient who is under the care of multiple doctors or been visiting several hospitals, EHR data allows access to providers who can make use of it to deliver appropriate treatment and make decisions about patient’s care. The data can be created, managed, and consulted by authorized providers and staff from across more than one healthcare organization to deliver appropriate treatment and care.
There are many wearable devices that are available currently which provide real-time monitoring of disease symptoms along with medication management thereby improving the patient outcomes and quality of life. There are sensor connected wearables for Parkinson’s disease that help improve adherence treatment and patient outcomes. The wireless patient-worn sensor is coupled with a mobile app to monitor patient’s condition that sends him/her reminders to adhere to the prescribed treatment and also sends the neurologist compliance and health-status reports. Fitness wearables such as Fitbit and Apple Watch have increased the ability of patients to take responsibility for their own health.
Engagement of Patients
With the vast amount of information available on internet, apps and online resources, patients are becoming more engaged in taking greater care of their own health than depending on doctors for advice. Online communities for sharing and discussing patient’s experience, apps, the impact of therapy on patients daily life and sensors to monitor disease symptoms etc. have been equipping patients with more information on the product performance and engaging them fully.
Better Patient Outcomes
Having data that demonstrates the value of their drugs in the real-world has become critical for pharma companies in the recent times. In order to retain the market and premium pricing, pharma companies should opt for digitally enabled solutions that showcase the evidence of value for their drugs. Coupling sensors and connectivity technologies with medical devices such as inhalers and insulin pens can help the companies to collect and analyze data to monitor a patient’s condition between visits to healthcare providers. Using these solutions(data) pharma companies can demonstrate the efficacy of the drug to the payors, governments, and policymakers for delivering improved patient outcomes and retaining premium pricing.
Pharma companies that are engaged in clinical trials, digital transformation in pharma enables them to use the combination of advanced technologies and services for creating totally new kinds of disease treatment possibilities. Remarkably, most pharma companies are increasingly using smart technology platforms in clinical trials. In a recent note, Cognizant partnered with Biogen to provide SmartTrials platform to drive innovation in clinical development. The platform allows biopharma companies to support clinical operations by standardizing data exchange and replacing several data repositories with a centralized information hub.