The digital transformation in pharma did not come to be until quite recently. For a while, companies in the field were slow, and even reluctant, toward the adoption and integration of certain technologies. Nonetheless, in the last two years, these have changed the way they perceive technology. New opportunities are being explored, thus making pharma’s digitalization more tangible than ever.
In light of this, in this article, we will highlight some of the main technological elements to keep in mind for the near future.
A transformation that is likely to continue for years to come…
Pharma’s digital transformation involves experimentation with a varied plethora of technological elements. Within them, companies in the field have found many hypotheses to create more value for patients, partners, and other key stakeholders.
An evolution predicted to happen 10 years from 2020 has come earlier than expected. Due to the extraordinary circumstances caused by the pandemic, pharma companies turned to experiment with innovative digital technologies.
A report from Deloitte shows this in a 2021 survey of 150 executives from pharma companies based in the US, Europe, and Asia. Among the most used technologies, the winners in this report were Cloud Computing (49%), AI (38%), data lakes (33%), and wearables (33%).
Below is a definition for each of the technologies that the questionnaire tackled.
The elements of the digital transformation in pharma
Cloud computing’s popularity is due to the rise of remote work. Half of the respondents to Deloitte’s inquiry affirmed using the cloud to help them out with day-to-day tasks at work.
The most relevant features of the cloud are its agility and scalability. In a way, it gives people in an organization the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world. It further allows companies to store and share data and run AI and ML features. As a result, this leads to a substantial decrease in costs and makes for an easier way to collect valuable data.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI was one of the technological innovations put in the spotlight during COVID. Throughout this period, and even now in its aftermath, investment in AI from pharma companies has increased exponentially. This allowed organizations to upscale their operations and collect vital medical data for future decisions.
In pharma marketing’s case, companies’ increase in digital presence equally influenced the use and evolution of AI. This technology is a highly beneficial, analytics enabler that simplifies marketing procedures. There are also many digital channels with AI-implemented solutions that help create and handle stakeholder engagement.
Many people haven’t heard of the concept of “data lake” even though they’ve used this in their work. A data lake consists of a storage repository able to store large amounts of data. It provides a huge quantity to assist and increase the analytic performance and the native integration.
A data lake’s main purpose is to provide an unrefined view of data to the people that analyze it. This is assisting pharma investigators in the most varied fields.
Wearables were widely used long before the pandemic began. These devices were particularly popular with fitness fans. They allowed people to measure the following:
- The number of steps taken;
- Sleep quality;
- Calories ingested;
- Oxygen levels;
- …and more!
These devices were popular among many fitness fans before the pandemic came. They allowed many people to measure elements such as the number of steps, sleep quality, number of calories ingested, oxygen levels, and more.
In the period that followed the pandemic, many clinical trials adopted a hybrid approach due to the restrictions. Wearables were a valuable asset for these studies. Due to their evolving ability to track the health details of many patients, pharma companies have turned to these devices for better monitoring.
AR & VR
AR and VR possibilities in pharma are increasing in value and number. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) pave the way for the creation of new virtual realities that provide the target audience with highly engaging experiences.
The biggest changes that these two elements have provided were in the production efficiency of drugs. However, it is also worth noting its equally innovative role in research and education. In this particular “setting,” AR and VR provide investigations with a visual element that is more immersive and memorable.
Internet of things (IoT)
The Internet of things (IoT) is another element that pharma companies have started to experiment with. As supply-chain operations grew digitalized due to disruptions in logistics and transportation, IoT started to gain notoriety in the sector.
Tracking product shipments in real-time is possible using IoT solutions. This filled the supply chain’s visibility gaps. At the same time, other possibilities will contribute to the thriving of this technological element. Without a doubt, in an era driven by data, IoT will be a vital element in many of the procedures that pharma companies have for investigation and communication.
Digital Twin technology derives from IoT. In essence, it’s a physical representation of an object, a process, or a service. It’s used to replicate several objects such as jet engines, wind farms, buildings, and cities.
It uses a computer program that relies on real-world data. With this, it can create a simulation to predict how a process or a product may perform. The better it integrates with the IoT, AI, and software analytics, the better it will help predict an output. This is another element with notorious growth thanks to the increase in data-driven processes.
Even though blockchain technology is over a decade old, in pharma it’s only now starting to be explored. It’s a decentralized and distributed ledger system. The main goal is to provide efficient and trusted solutions to trace products. It also enables the creation of a distributed shared data platform fit for storing and sharing transaction data with supply chain stakeholders.
Thanks to blockchain technology vital information will remain available, secure, and transparent to those who need access. Through cryptographic techniques, data won’t fall into the wrong hands. For example, in pharma, supply chains are using this to detect, track and handle drug counterfeits.
Last but not least there’s quantum computing. An element said to be a future disruptor for pharma’s R&D. It uses quantum cells called “qubits”. As opposed to classical computing, in which bits have a value of 0 or 1, they work with non-binary values and can overlap one another and perform as a group.
Producing a faster result than conventional computers, it helps organizations in faster decision-making and other calculations. In a matter of seconds, quantum computing can solve complex formulas and help in many drug discovery processes. Many predict benefits such as cost reduction in production and design. There’s also the simplification of clinical trial design and the arrival of new players in pharmaceutical R&D.
The digital transformation in pharma is becoming full of a variety of options. With technological evolution, there will be a greater optimization of work in the field. Not only that, but a new array of possibilities for investigation and communication purposes. The growth of technological possibilities is undoubtedly an element that will revolutionize many procedures in healthcare, helping the industry head in a whole new direction.
Technology is without a doubt disrupting pharma. However, even with the best technological assets, you need quality content to create powerful engagement.
Fortunately, RedNovius has the perfect model of content for your pharma brand. Using PubVisual, you can provide a personalized 90-second video to explain your medical data to the medical community.
Book a meeting and discover how we can help you.