If we look at the entire gamut of the healthcare industry, it covers the excipients and pharmaceutical industry, to begin with, the medical electronics industry and hospitals and clinics. Research and development in all industries have significantly improved the quality of the products, the reach of the products, and the facilities offered to patients.

The aim of the healthcare industry has been to provide the best treatment to increase the average lifespan and make sure that the patient is healthy and fit sooner than ever. The medical diagnostics and electronics industry ensures the most correct diagnosis for a patient, the pharmaceutical company manufactures quality medicines with constant research and development, and hospitals provide the best inline healthcare.

Governments and customers of different countries have laid their mandates and requirements and it is practically impossible to adhere to them without digitization and technology.

Digitalization has not only benefited healthcare companies by improving traceability, transparency, visibility, doctor-patient coordination, and quality of data, that too in real-time, but it has also had a major impact on consumers.

Customers have peace of mind when they have access to the entire history of the product without anomalies. The trust and confidence in the brand are increased. When the customer is handed over what he needs based on the prescription, it would also capture what is the demand in the market and the procurement and production planning can be optimized with this information. Seasonal requirements will generate a spike in demand, and it is always better to be prepared and then there are once in a lifetime needs such as what we are facing today in the face of the pandemic which needs a disaster management plan, and a digital and transparent supply chain will help immensely.

With the use of technology has spread so wide and deep, even the uneducated consumer today can check while he’s purchasing the required prescribed drug, as to whether it is counterfeit and satisfy himself.

The connected ecosystem from the vendor to the manufacturer to the distribution channel and to the end-user will be so tightly integrated that the interdependency on one another would be very high. As products get sold and as consumers purchase them, the data captured at the point of transaction will bring an enormous amount of value to the maker of these products. They would be able to now forecast the demand, and they would be able to analyze the data for any seasonal swings, so they are better prepared. They would be able to work internally within their backward supply chain to smoothen the processes to an extent where products would be available at immediate notice and to fulfill only that demand. This would help them curb losses which otherwise in the form of expired products can’t be sold or reused.

Production Planning can be much better and this digital data that is gathered can be used to optimize their assets much better. It would generate healthier profits, increase their brand value, and at the same time help organizations connect with their customers like never before.

In an instance that a need should arise to recall a batch in case of any defect, the manufacturer would know exactly how many units were sent to different levels in the supply chain & whether they have been consumed or are still on the shelves. The effort to bring them back into the four walls of the plant will be smooth and easy and less time-consuming than the current practice.

The diagnostic industry, which today has assumed significant importance in assessing or diagnosing the exact root cause of a problem or disease with a patient, is able to generate results in record times and for loyal patients, they are able to then give a comparison from time to time over the variations of some of the test’s results that have been carried out. All this has been possible because of the adoption of digitization. We shall soon see in the near future our own data is used to give advice on the changes that should be adopted in our lifestyle to reverse or arrest some of the progressive ailments. Based on the trends of the data, we shall also start receiving warnings on what might happen if the same trend continues or tips on how to maintain and enhance the existing lifestyle.

The collated data across demography will help generate valuable information and knowledge on the possible causes of certain discomforts, ailments, and progressive diseases.

We all know how physicians and doctors write prescriptions and logs in hospitals. Chances of a misread and therefore a misadministration of dosage are high. Obviously, this is not a very efficient system and a physician’s time is a precious commodity. Digitization can come into its element here and do what computers are known for – task automation. Tablets / mobile computers can be used to confirm the patient identity which then populates the dosage to be given or changed. It’s instantaneous rather than the traditional method of referring to registers. It is accurate too. Multiple doctors visiting a patient can look up history and prescribed treatment from fellow doctors. The treatment prescribed then can be in line with the findings and aligned to the other treatments being given rather than a contradictory treatment which might delay the recuperation process of the patient. Any history of treatment can help with the ongoing diagnosis and treatment.

With the help of constant information sharing, the specialists will also know what’s working and where progress is being made. This is not a rare scenario, and this is an area where digitization can assist doctors in doing their work effectively and efficiently. Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems can be implemented which provide prescription advice and reminders.

Conclusion

Although digital data is always at risk of malicious attacks, with expertly devised digital data storage systems, these factors can be taken out of the equation for medical records. Not only that, but these records can be accessed anywhere by authorized personnel, ensuring timely availability of assistance should a need arise. Appropriate fail-safe measures will ensure that the data will stay intact and not be affected by negligence, natural disasters, and so on.

Going digital will incur costs that will have to be planned for at least a 3–5-year time frame with a futuristic outlook considering the rapid changes that are happening. A phased approach with milestones and outcomes must be a part of the plan. However, digitization will have an impact on the environment. It will be a significant contributor to the increase in the carbon footprint. One must consciously take decisions with a pledge to compensate and offset the potential damage.

To be continued Part 2….