The Evolution of Data
The digital revolution has transcended new age gadgets and fascinating devices and has changed every industry and the pharmaceutical industry is no exception.
Pharmaceutical companies are starting to adopt a business model with data as a foundation for the company’s overall strategy.
The journey of data in the Pharmaceutical Industry is similar to other industries. However with pharma, its also about navigating the layers of regulatory affairs, high emphasis on data integrity and accuracy etc.
The Problem with Traditional Data Management
The way data was managed in the past was to keep on-premise IT infrastructure deployments which had problems with both pricing and performance. Adding to this was also the challenge of hiring efficient resources to manage both the systems and data deployed on premise. The data recorded in these systems was also not readily available for quick analysis and insight.
Cloud Computing and the Age of Data
Cloud computing in the present age has improved not only the pricing and performance but also the real-time availability of data, speed of retrieval and accuracy.
Every organization is now collecting data at an unprecedented scale, this data carries insights of tremendous value if it’s structured well and a data governance system is put in place.
The Sources of Data
Data was traditionally entered separately in disparate systems for example the database of patient records, another database of doctors and another database having the inventory of medicines etc however now it is possible to collect data in real-time from many sources – A patient can register his information using the hospital’s application, a vendor when he is sending an invoice to the hospital or a pharmacist noting down the inventory depletion of a certain drug.
With multiple databases being filled up real-time from so many sources, there needs to be a well tested system of data governance that keeps all sources aligned with each other.
The Plethora of Applications
Apart from the data collection and storage, there is also the need of many internal applications to talk to each other and the possibility of automating highly routine tasks. For example, smart IoT sensors can check the inventory depletion of a critical but high demand drug and then create an alert to automatically trigger a purchase order removing the need of manual inspections.
Enabling this automation would would essentially require building a system where applications and devices that talk to each other and share real time updates.
Data collected in a systematic manner also helps make strategic business decisions, like predicting the increased usage of a particular drug in a certain season so that higher availability can be arranged in advance. It also assists in determining better access to data reports that helps physicians provide better solutions for personalized medicines. These reports which are based on facts and statistics provide the much needed insight to determine one medicine’s effectiveness and viability over the other.
Integrity of Data
The Pharma industry also demands a high level of data integrity because of health and regulatory reasons. Also in many cases the speed of data retrieval is critical and therefore the data needs to be available on request. The Pharma industry is therefore looking at innovative solutions like blockchain that provide this mechanism of swift data retrieval.
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