As new diseases appear and patient needs continue to evolve, the pharmaceutical industry is under increasing pressure to improve outcomes and maximize efficiency. Pharma companies are challenged to speed up research and development, while reducing operational costs.
While it can be tempting to maintain the same processes that have been in place for years, times are changing and the healthcare industry must act fast.
Here are four strategies that pharma companies can do to improve efficiency and deliver superior care:
Acquire smarter machine tools
Production industries like pharmacy often find that a machinery upgrade helps them stay competitive in an ever-changing market. More pharma companies, for example, are adopting softgel machines with digital control systems to increase production speed and capacity. While advanced equipment often requires complex setup and training, these machines can generate positive returns and improve performance.
Artificial intelligence can assist in data collection and interpretation. Computers such as IBM Watson have the ability to process endless pages of scientific research essential to drug creation and re-purposing. It can also store and recall information from different sources including scientific journals, clinical trials, medical records, and physician’s notes, and come up with assessment within a few minutes.
Machines powered by artificial intelligence are capable of discovering unknown connections between symptoms and diseases. This can help reduce errors and aid pharmacists in manufacturing highly specialized and effective drugs. As these machines continue to evolve, it’ll be a matter of time before treatments for incurable diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s are discovered.
Nanotechnology has also made its way into the pharmaceutical industry. Clinicians and pharmacists can monitor patient’s medicine intake and easily make changes in dosage if necessary. Once the patient has consumed the medicine, it would transmit signals to confirm that the drug has been taken. The information would then be sent over to the healthcare provider through a mobile app for assessment.
Researches are also looking into incorporating nanobots in medicine. These are microscopic robots that a patient consumes in the form of a pill or injection. Nanobots can be programmed to do certain tasks inside the human body such as performing complex surgical tasks and eliminating cancer cells.
Outsource testing and clinical trials
Research is an expensive but crucial part of drug production. Today’s pharmaceutical and biotech companies outsource a huge part of their testing from low-cost centers to speed up operations and cut costs.
As in all industries, outsourcing comes with risks. Triple check all credentials before hiring outsourced professionals. Additionally, consider outsourcing only minor parts of your product trials. Major innovation and product planning should still be done in-house.
Explore 3D printing
3D printing is revolutionizing various industries and pharmacy is no exception. It offers a faster and cheaper way to produce and even personalize drugs. Since the release of Spritam, the first 3D printed drug to be approved by the FDA, more pharma companies are integrating this technology into their projects.
3D printed drugs are manufactured by stacking layers of the pill until the desired dosage is achieved. This method allows the drug to come in high doses, while maintaining its compact size and porousness. 3D printed drugs are designed to dissolve quickly, making it particularly valuable to patients who have trouble swallowing their medication.
This technology not only improves the way drugs are manufactured, but also administered. In the future, 3D printing software can be distributed to hospitals. This will allow healthcare providers to personalize medication and instantly adjust doses if needed. It might even be possible for patients to print downloadable medication in the comfort of their own home.
Automate administrative processes
In the pharmaceutical industry, errors in inventory can lead to disastrous results. Unfortunately, many pharma companies still use a manual inventory management system. This often results in human errors, which could incur more costs and lower your profit margins. Additionally, manual counts take more time and effort, which could have been spent on more urgent tasks.
Manually tracking expiration dates and product specifications could bring errors that could endanger human lives. Additionally, expired chemicals can result in potentially hazardous drugs, inaccurate product testing, and a huge waste of research funds.
Using cloud-based technologies allows pharma companies to consolidate inventory figures and reduce inaccuracy. Digitizing records can also allow authorized users to access inventory anytime and anywhere, simplifying communications with partners and vendors.
Even in today’s digital world, many pharmacists and clinicians still rely on handwritten prescriptions to provide patients with appropriate medication.
Electronic prescribing, or e-prescribing, is an emerging technique that can reduce issues associated with hard copy prescriptions. Such issues include fraud, forgery, and illegible penmanship, which often lead to inaccurate interpretation.
Additionally, e-prescribing gives authorized users access to a patient’s medication history. This means physicians can prescribe necessary dose increases or add essential drugs to provide patients with the best possible care.
Technology and artificial intelligence have tremendous potential to revolutionize the medical industry. Leveraging these innovations can help pharma companies stay competitive, fine-tune clinical and research trials, and improve patient care.