Technology has slowly been creeping to the core of the pharma industry. Especially, in the last two decades, the pharma industry has shown a significant amount of growth. From Bharat BioTech to Pfizer, the market valuation of such companies are increasing exponentially after the COVID-19. According to GlobeNewswire, the global pharmaceutical industry is expected to cross $1.57 trillion USD by 2023.
As people are becoming more health-conscious, the expenditure on healthcare is pushing the industry to a new height. Technology has empowered the pharma industry to improve customer engagement with personalized innovative offerings.
Cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Apps are among the innovations that are transforming the current face of the Pharmaceutical industry.
The blog elucidates the smart digital technologies that are shaping the future of the pharmaceutical industry to create advanced and improved healthcare solutions.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML)
AI and ML are undoubtedly the next big thing for the Pharma sector. AI technology is already being used in automating repetitive tasks such as data entry, data management, medication monitoring, analysis of the healthcare system for any errors, etc.
Data is the fuel for the next economy. Extracting intelligence from mountains of data collected through various IoT sensors & RFID chips is now possible, thanks to Artificial intelligence. Furthermore, AI can also recommend the best possible actions in complex situations, deliver personalized engagement, predict patient adherence, etc.
Now, in the pharmaceutical industry, AI & ML can be used in R&D operations, simulating the organic behavior of the human body to see the efficacy of a drug.
For reference, rather than doing drug trials on thousands of people for months, AI will take a few seconds to analyze the effect of the drug by doing billions of simulations of the human body based on the past records of patients. Whereas, Machine Learning helps in optimizing the current processes by making it less lengthy and saves a lot of cost and time.
Digitization of Medicine through Mobile Apps
Pharma companies around the world are now realizing that producing only drugs is not enough. Recent trend shows that they have to address the health as-well-as the lifestyle issues of the patient.
This trend is so popular that there is a name for it, “Around the Pill” digital offering. This offering focuses on the entire experience of the therapy. It includes everything from medicines to digital app/hardware devices that can be bundled with the prescription.
Fitness apps for chronic diseases, locating a nearby medical facility, ordering drugs via e-commerce apps, online consultation with doctors via mobile applications are already popular in the market.
Besides, mobile apps that connect patients with insurance companies can eliminate the long process of document verification. Insurance companies can directly fetch the patient’s medical record and prescription from the app and they can decide whether the particular medical condition goes under the insurance coverage or not.
Hence, more smart pharmaceutical apps are coming with the rise of new technologies and undoubtedly, it’s the next big thing for the Pharma industry.
Integration of IoT Sensors
IoT sensors have incredible potential to help the pharma industry. These sensors can either be placed inside or on the body to measure critical vital signs. Connected devices and smart wearables can help in analyzing the side effects of various drugs on the human body.
With advancements in nanotechnology as well as the integration of IoT in the pharma sector, it is possible that in the near future we may see “digestible IoT devices”. These tiny pills with sensors could track & transmit critical vitals while the drug is being digested by the body.
Seeing this radical growth and extensive R&D to integrate IoT in the pharmaceutical industry, we can be sure of the fact that some great innovations are on the way for the betterment of this industry.
Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR)
Another next-gen technology that is slowly taking over every aspect of our lives and likely to take the pharma industry by storm is AR and VR. Many pharmaceutical companies are leveraging the power of Augmented reality to allow patients to better connect with their prescription/ dosage instruction printed on the medicine container by translating them into 3D graphics.
Also, AR-VR can assist in the manufacturing process of medicines. Such as complex machine handling, providing training, remote maintenance & guidance, etc. For reference, a California-based augmented reality company developed a smart helmet that can help with on-site in context knowledge transfer, step-by-step work instruction, data visualizations right where decision-making is happening.
In the pharmaceutical sector, blockchain can facilitate many areas including manufacturing, distribution, research & development, and even patients’ identity management.
The decentralized structure of Blockchain can help in maintaining the quality of the manufacturing and distribution process of drugs by reducing the cases of fraud and counterfeit drugs. It can be used as a single source tracking products, drugs, payments, and medical devices across all points in the supply chain.
Blockchain can also provide transparency in the clinical trial process. A digital identity created by the blockchain helps in efficient traceability of patients linked to a specific drug trial while maintaining the highest degree of identity protection.
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The Pharma industry is changing at every level. To survive and thrive in this competitive environment, it’s essential to explore and invest in the latest technology and stand out from the competition.
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