Pharmaceutical companies are always looking for ways to help patients, develop new drugs, and maximize profits. Innovation has always been an essential part of achieving these goals. However, over the last number of years, as the pharmaceutical industry has been forced to confront the digitization of virtually every sector in the economy, the ability to integrate new technologies has become increasingly important.
In fact, for many pharmaceutical companies, digitization is not merely a luxury but a regulatory necessity. As regulators require pharmaceutical companies to keep and report digital records, these companies have no choice but to embrace the technologies that allow them to do so. In many cases, upgrades to a company’s IT infrastructure will be necessary to meet these regulations. Moreover, when companies do carry out these improvements to their IT systems, it’s within their interests to integrate the most effective, secure, and cost-effective technologies to do so.
Cloud-based systems have emerged as one of the best options for pharmaceutical companies to embrace in the process of digital transformation. Given that cloud technologies are more used by pharmaceutical companies today than ever before, let’s explore how corporations are leveraging this exciting new innovation for their benefit.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Storage
First and foremost, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals use the cloud to securely store data and records. This is important since the accuracy of this data allows companies to receive regulatory approval to sell pharmaceutical products and serve patients.
Cloud storage is an alternative to the original method that pharmaceutical companies used to store data, which was by using their own IT infrastructure that includes hard drives, computers, web servers, data loggers, and other equipment. As you can imagine, buying, operating, and upgrading these systems represented quite a challenge for pharmaceutical companies, often requiring them to hire growing teams of in-house IT professionals.
According to Dickson, pharma cloud computing represents an important alternative to this approach. In effect, pharmaceutical companies can rent out IT infrastructure from third-party cloud service providers who manage and operate large data centers.
Cloud service providers typically retain highly technical personnel that oversee the storage of this often sensitive information in data warehouses. In fact, most tech titans have begun offering cloud service solutions. Amazon is a big player in the cloud storage industry through Amazon Web Services, as is Google through Google Cloud Console and Microsoft through the Microsoft Cloud.
These companies bring technical staff to the table when storing data for clients, allowing many pharmaceutical companies to save on recruitment and labor costs. Moreover, large cloud service providers can purchase IT infrastructure, allowing them to save on fixed costs and pass those savings on to clients.
Cloud Storage for Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials and Hospitals
Another way that cloud storage is paving the way for pharmaceutical innovation is by allowing clinical trial data to be collected and stored digitally. This is a far cry from the paper-based storage methods of the past in terms of data security and integrity.
Moreover, cloud-based storage methods allow biotech companies to record data in more modern ways. For example, it allows biotech companies to leverage the power of wearables to collect data that can then be transmitted to a cloud-based storage system. That’s a huge deal, considering that a growing number of wearable technologies are now able to affordably collect a variety of health metrics such as heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, and blood glucose levels.
Integrating wearables into the clinical trial process will allow biotech companies to develop a far more granular and nuanced view of how the drugs they are studying influence patients. In addition, leveraging the cloud can reduce the costs of clinical trials and help to protect patients’ data.
Cloud Storage for Supply Chains and Quality Control
Another way that pharmaceutical companies are leveraging the power of the cloud is to improve the efficiency and safety of their supply chains. This is particularly important for pharmaceutical companies since many medical products must be stored and transported at specific temperatures. Many medical products can become unstable or ineffective if they are not stored at sufficiently low temperatures.
Considering that millions of patients rely on these products each day and the recent supply chain breakdowns, ensuring the quality of those products through safe storage and transport is critical. Accordingly, companies are today using small electronic devices called data loggers to collect environmental data such as temperature, humidity, and differential pressure of storage facilities.
This process is important not just for quality assurance purposes but also for regulatory reasons. That’s because many pharmaceutical regulatory agencies actually require companies to report the temperature data of the storage facilities that house their products, especially during transportation, as part of a supply chain.
Historically, pharmaceutical employees would measure storage temperatures using an analog instrument such as a thermometer and then record the temperature on paper. Needless to say, that traditional method can’t compare to the power of data loggers to measure, store, and transmit data to computers or hard drives securely. Moreover, data that is collected electronically can be analyzed using powerful software and computer systems.
Many data loggers have internal storage to store data until it can be transferred to an external system. However, an increasing number of data loggers can interact with cloud storage systems. This has represented an important advance in the industry since it facilitates real-time temperature monitoring strategies.
The ability to record and view the temperatures of storage facilities in real time gives supply chain professionals the power to meet ambitious quality-control objectives. For example, companies that don’t immediately realize that storage temperatures have deviated risk shipping defective products that must be recalled. Pharmaceutical companies that measure temperatures in real-time, on the other hand, will be able to immediately detect unsafe storage conditions and take action.
Real-time temperature monitoring that sends data to the cloud can even be combined with temperature mapping strategies that give managers an idea of the temperatures in each area of a storage unit at all times. That’s important since areas in one part of a storage unit might not be the same as in other areas.
To sum up, it’s clear that cloud technologies have a plethora of applications in the pharmaceutical industry that ultimately improve customers’ experiences. Chief among them is their ability to make supply chains safer, make clinical trial data more accurate, and make data storage costs more secure and affordable for pharmaceutical companies and hospitals.
Tech expert fresh from the Australian Coast. Been in the tech industry more than 9 years, as part of a Business Growth Group. His out of office days are 100% for freestyle surfing and waves chasing.