Figure 3 shows how smart devices can capture health indicators of the wearer and compile, analyse and report insights to the cloud layer. The data is stored in the centralized database, analyzed with a bigger data set in the analytics engine to generate health insights. This information is categorized and shared using cloud layer with external and internal systems.
Weighing Pros and Cons
Implementation of an IoT ecosystem is not hassle free. It is imperative for a Pharma company to conduct a detailed due diligence to analyze the people, process and technology readiness for IoT. Key challenges that pharma companies need to deal with are:
- Ever evolving device platforms and ability to manage interoperability across these platforms
- Data privacy, security and vulnerability management
- Application and business modularity to ensure easy plug-in and plug-out without affecting business operations
- Ability to scale up and manage large volumes of structured and unstructured data keeping performance levers intact
IoT can help Pharma companies derive value and provide competitive advantage through:
Cost savings: This will be attained throughout the value chain
R&D: IoT applications such as “’Organ in a Chip” will drastically improve the productivity through rapid trials running multi-stage diagnostics. This will bring down the trial and data reporting costs and will also help reduce manual intervention in mundane activities. Advanced analytics tools can feed data directly to generate vital diagnostics and real-time reporting
Clinical development: Cost reduction will be achieved through savings attained in clinical trial phase as a result of continual feedback on subject diagnostics and monitoring using sensors, faster subject screening and analysis
Supply Chain: Reduction in operations and maintenance cost. Savings will also come from improved inventory planning reducing obsolescence cost and risk. The improved logistics planning will help in reducing redundant costs that was incurred due to wastages and incorrect supply. This will help bring down overall drug costs as well
Improved Quality: With smart systems, there will be a better control on precision and quality of drug produced and error rate would be reduced drastically. During the discovery and trial phases as well, smart reporting and analytical systems will help reduce adverse effect rate, thereby improving drug quality in terms of safety. The smart systems in patient access phase will help improve quality of care
Better compliance adherence: Smart devices will enable real-time data reporting to central systems. This will make the monitoring live and exceptions can be responded to quickly. This will help improve regulatory reporting, reducing manual intervention. Adverse event reporting can be minimized through predictive alerting
Better planning and lesser time to market: The real-time data reported across value chain components can be used for generating business value insights for leadership teams, thus resulting in near real-time decision making. The required feedback and changes related to drug research, efficacy, adoption, patient outcomes etc. can also be easily percolated back to the systems. This will be particularly useful during drug launch, drug pricing, and drug marketing related strategy development. Also, the efficiency improvement will optimize the time to market.
Internet of Things is a reality in today’s era of digitization and, therefore, it deems fit that Pharma companies adopt it at the earliest. Though IOT is still in its nascent stages of development and adoption across industries, it is imperative for Pharma companies to include IOT as part of their strategic focus. This will help them start exploring and implementing IOT applications across value chain components that are ailing and are potential candidates for IOT adoption. This would require companies to take reformative steps such as rehauling systems and processes and transforming business models using nextgen architectures.
On one hand, IoT offers added quality, agility and value to the business; on the other hand, it promises tremendous opportunities for innovation and can lead to a new era of transformation in Pharma.