Technology investment trends in pharmaceutical business

Technology investment is playing a central role in the digital transformation of pharmaceutical companies. Implementing mobile communications, cloud computing, advanced analytics, and the Internet of Things all help in this development.
A recent report from Frost & Sullivan stated that companies who have been digitally transformed like Apple, Facebook, and Google are pushing pharmaceutical companies to improve their systems.

The need for this improvement in technology is because now patients are seen as the most important aspect of the market, and their satisfaction determines the boost of sales.

To make this happen, pharmaceuticals are partnering with IT companies who are offering innovative solutions that help them improve efficiency and enhance patient care.

An example is the implementation of machine intelligence and big data into pharmaceutical companies leading to process improvement and faster decision making.

McKinsey estimates that big data and machine learning in pharma and medicine could generate a value of up to $100B annually due to improvement in decision-making, optimized innovation, improved efficiency of research/clinical trials, and new tool creation for physicians, consumers, insurers, and regulators.

Globally many companies are forging deals to enhance their capabilities through effective utilization of technologies. For example, in 2017 Glaxo collaborated with two companies Exscientia, UK specialist in machine-learning, and Insilico Medicine, ,U.S. leader in AI-led drug discovery.

Through this partnership, Glaxo implemented AI into analyzing patient data, which helped them to reduce the time frame of finding results from 4-5 years to one year while also reducing the costs.

In addition to AI, 3D printing technology is also bringing a major transformation in pharma business. These printers are used in manufacturing human tissues, muscles, organs and bones that can be implanted into living humans. They offer higher production rates, better accuracy and reduction in expenditure.

In 2016, Nano3D BioSciences developed a test for vasoactivity by using its core 3D cell culture platform, magnetic 3D bioprinting in partnership with AstraZeneca.

IoT, in combination with related technologies, is boosting the healthcare industry. A report by Allied Market Research stated that the IoT healthcare market will reach $136 billion worldwide by 2021.

IoT finds its use in wearable devices for patients with chronic diseases that require frequent checkup, or for patients who need to achieve health targets. Treatments can be tracked on devices like Apple Watch, Fitbit and Samsung S Health which all provide effective and accurate results.

Adoption of Electronic Prescribing Systems has also transformed the efficiency of administration in hospitals and pharmacies. These systems work through mobile phones and use text alerts to remind patients to take their prescriptions or for monitoring heart rates and blood pressure.

However, the benefits of technology reach to the customers if companies are willing to integrate and invest in such architectures.

Pharmaceutical companies have also integrated virtual reality in clinics and clinical trials to avoid patient visits. For example in 2011, the PPD 3D tool was developed by PPD and Proton Media.  This is a system where patients can be accessed by doctors from any location and communication is done at a faster speed using sensors and virtual assistants. The system can also be customized according to the patient, which increases the accuracy of results.

Patient data today has also been made easily transferrable and accessible. This proves to be beneficial when a patient’s condition needs immediate assistance from doctors or medical institutions present far away. For example, analytics company, Pulse Infoframe, has created a safe space online where data is shared.

Digital transformation in pharmaceuticals is making a huge shift in the way companies conduct business and increases the level of trust amongst patients.

report by Deloitte states that 54 percent of consumers who take prescription drugs say that they’d be interested in using digital tools and mobile technologies.

By using any of all these innovative solutions that take care of drug prescription and provide immediate services lead to the improvement of patient conditions. Hence digital transformation is critical in the field of pharmacy and medicine.

Yadawanka Pala

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