Harnessing Technology to Accelerate Transformation in Pharma Industry

By Urvashi Melwani Aug 30, 2019

The seamless integration of technology into the healthcare sector has empowered pharmaceutical companies to take customer engagement to its next level with very personalized and innovative offerings. Technologies like Cloud, Advanced Analytics, IoT, and Blockchain are providing pharmaceutical executives opportunities to improve efficiencies, tap into the new business potential, and build better relationships with patients and prescribers.

It is anticipated that by 2021, the global pharmaceutical sector will touch down  $1170 billion worth, with an impressive growth rate of 5.8%.

7 hexagons connected with each otherHowever, it is paramount that the sector keeps up with the pace across all the pharma value chains- sales, marketing, digital, business, IT and extends it to patients, HCPs, and distributors as well.

This blog will elucidate the popular trends that are shaping up the pharmaceutical industry and technology solutions that are being harnessed to create advanced healthcare solutions and improved patient experience.

Blending Technology with Pharma

Pharmaceuticals companies have lately realized the fear of missing out & its consequences and so have started investing in digital healthcare and advanced technologies. Subsequently, there are changes being observed in the way these companies operate- whether it's their interaction with stakeholders, such as patients and payers; how they design their research and conduct clinical trials, or how they market their drugs.

Innovative Products and Services

“The increased adoption of telemedicine, smart medical devices & wearables, and DIY diagnostic kits showcases a perfect blend of technology and  pharma industry”

The pharmaceutical industry has been slow to adopt the technological transformations and innovations. It has majorly focused on providing new and more effective medical solutions for a mass market. However, the compelling recent trends show a great focus on offering comprehensive services to consumers and maintaining a cordial relationship with them. 

The increased adoption of telemedicine, smart medical devices & wearables, and DIY diagnostic kits are embarking upon the journey where information technology is blending effectively with medical science. 

Blue rectangle showcasing various small pictures

Improving Access to Patients

Telemedicine nowadays has been considered as one of the biggest revenue generators for pharma companies. This brings in a two-fold benefit-

  • Round-the-clock access to medicare care and consultation for existing patients
  • Increased scope and influence & hence the capability to expand to new markets, and doing away the cost of physical infrastructure.

“Telemedicine nowadays has been considered as one of the biggest revenue generators for pharma companies”

Nonetheless, this can only be acquired when there is complete technology support and advancement made in the field already. While now patients have a facility of receiving the highest quality of care with just a tap on their smartphones and internet access, pharma companies will need a whole-length of solutions to deliver telemedicine services. From audio-visual connectivity, interactive platform, to incorporating existing patient data management systems; these all moving parts will be required in the first place. 

Further, these systems should be robust, available, and scalable if they have to show any significant ROI.

Collecting Health Data

Smart devices have already forayed into the healthcare sector. However, the market is now stepping towards creating those smart devices which can keep the pharma companies engrossed throughout the period when patients interact with their products.

And this subsequently, is turning into a massive real-time data collection network which will only ensure better patient outcomes and drive R&D process.

Healthcare Apps

An easy-to-access healthcare management solution that allows patients and healthcare professionals to stay connected on-the-go, and ensure compliance with medical regimens to obtain better outcomes.

Smart Pills and Bottles

Tracks medicine usage and accordingly incorporates the changes in health statistics to render timely and effective medical services. This can prove effective for caregivers, especially those who are caring for the elderly or those with degenerative conditions.

Digestible sensors

Record drug efficacy for different demographics and iterate over time to create more specific and efficient products. 

“Pharma companies are also launching devices aimed at specific medical issues”

The solutions availed by the patients causes them little to no disruption in their existing habits. But for pharma companies, the ability to collect data effectively from smart devices, and making it available to the right people is a complex technology venture.

Having said that, these following requirements are generated to carry out further process

  • Cloud space is required to collect and store data and put special attention on its security, and HIPAA compliance
  • Showcasing this data to patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals will require data visualization solutions, as well as dashboards with access controls to avoid access to any restricted users. 
  • Making this data available to existing healthcare record and management systems would also require you to think of creating and managing the right APIs

Additionally, pharma companies are also launching devices aimed at specific medical issues.

Blockchain security

It will help in -

  • Storing patient’s data safely and securely
  • Authenticating every drug and ensuring no counterfeit drugs reach the market
  • Transparency and traceability of consent, and reliability of data during clinical trials

Augmented and virtual reality

“Investments made in VR technology can remodel the way treatments are done for mental/ psychological challenges like chronic pain, or stress”

Augmented reality can help patients in being an active member in their healthcare process instead of being passive recipients. AR can assist doctors and patients to understand the complex medical challenges and the treatment options to better envisage what they are dealing with, and accordingly take better treatment decisions on time.


Investments made in VR technology can remodel the way treatments are done for mental/ psychological challenges like chronic pain, or stress.


Gamifying health issues to give them an interesting twist is proving out to be an effective remedy in encouraging patients to stick to their treatment and healthcare plans. It fascinates patients and inspires them that leads to improved patient outcomes. 

A person using tab to play game

For instance, Sanofi’s Monster Manor is a game for children with Type 1 diabetes that motivates them to keep a check on their glucose levels. It is integrated with BlueLoop Glucose (BG) tracker application.

“Solutions in the form of games can naturally compel kids and help vastly in improving outcomes in pediatric medicine”

Every time as children will enter their BG information into the BlueLoop app, they will be rewarded with a “piñata” to crack open in Monster Manor.  Pinatas are all sort of fun items inside, from “Beanz” that helps children collect more monsters, to “gold” that will buy their monsters new pets.

Such type of solutions can naturally compel kids and help vastly in improving outcomes in pediatric medicine. To implement the same efficiently, they do need secure applications and seamless integration into patient information systems.

Here is the link of video showcasing how technology is and will transform the pharma industry. Watch now-

Data-Driven Decision Making

Pharma companies are launching new and more targeted products & service lines with data driving the execution part. The data is provided on what health challenges the population is expected to deal with, how new products are impacting patient outcomes, and an array of other factors that impact R&D, manufacturing and sales.

These companies should start to link and filter the data they have accumulated in different technical and organizational silos, which in turn,  will bestow them with a huge opportunity to improve their pipelines, products, and strategies. This way they can bring in use the internal and external data sources to drive superior results in R&D and marketing to boost their internal procedures.

“Identifying risk factors prevailing in patients at an early stage can ensure early treatment and hence better chances of success”

Preventative Treatment

  • The data analysis and evaluation helps in keeping up with the trends and accordingly create predictive models of biological processes or the impact of certain drugs.
  • Identifying risk factors prevailing in patients at an early stage can ensure early treatment and hence better chances of success.

Generating Revenue

  • Big data strategies can drive value through innovation and advance complex decision making to generate up to $100 billion annually.
  • Clinical trials will become more cost-efficient as companies will rely on data modelling to anticipate success outcomes and only spend time in those trials that comprise of a higher probability of success. 

“Data visualization and analytics solutions that can leverage all the data to offer accurate insights would also be crucial for pharma enterprises”

The implementation of big data can significantly improve the workflows, boost process automation, and increase diagnostic accuracy. Top companies like IBM, Google, and Microsoft have already their own AI healthcare projects and are apparently investing more in this area.

Professionals in the same industry will have to work around the strategies to level up their game of data collection and analytics abilities to be able to successfully battle against these giants in the new market landscape.

The first step towards this would be framing a wall-to-wall data infrastructure that’s robust, accessible, and secure. Data visualization and analytics solutions that can leverage all the data to offer accurate insights would also be crucial for pharma enterprises.

Improved Patient Experience

In this modern era, the pharma industry is no new to inculcate the digital strategy centered around their patients for a better and enriched experience. Pharmaceutical companies are moving way beyond drug stores and doctors and investing in new services that are originating from it.

Comprehensive Medical Solutions

Pharma companies are focusing on offering packages to patients that might come handy in every medical solution instead of providing them with one-off products. These all-inclusive offerings encompass everything from digital health apps to services and devices bundled along with the prescribed product. This comprehensive approach like this can easily level up the pharma companies in the industry, with companies making an effort to own the entire patient relationship rather than just serving a portion of it.

Voice Applications

Voice technologies in pharma are currently limited to applications like quick medical scribes or speech-based guided instructions. However, more can be contributed in this field to serve elderly people better and manage chronic conditions or as the physician's assistant. 

4 hexagons and 2 cylindrical shaped container connected with each other

It is estimated that by the end of 2019, HIPAA-compliant voice and chatbot applications for healthcare will gain eminence as well-known companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft will vigorously compete on voice solutions.

Summing up

With the continuous evolvement in the pharma industry, pharmaceutical enterprises are required to offer the top-notch range of medical products and services to stay on the top. And given the current trends, the ability to do that not only comes from medical expertise but also technical expertise. 

Revamping internal processes by having a close understanding of the consumers’ medical needs and technological expectations will be required, to tap and invest in new market opportunities.

So, it’s time for pharmaceutical players to keep an eye on the trends, and start collaborating with technology partners that can ultimately help them conceptualize and create a completely new set of products, services, and processes.

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