Pharma has always been an innovation carrier and innovation has been the basis of the pharmaceutical industry.
2020 was a year that has left a mark on everyone’s lives. Every person and every business was influenced by the events that took place. Business operations had to transform so quickly to the new way of work not as a matter of achieving competitive advantage, but as a way to simply survive.
It was a year that brought us great scientific achievements which allow us to be optimistic that the pandemic will come to an end.
The pharmaceutical industry also faced operational challenges like any other business. They are doing a tremendous job in creating vaccines and helping the world go back to the normal way of functioning but they also have discovered areas for improvement which are critical to their success and everyday operations.
Some of the biggest challenges and trends that the pharmaceutical industry is facing are:
Lack of Direct Communication and Physical Contact between Pharma Representatives and Doctors/Institutions
The conventional communication channel between pharma companies and doctors, research institutes, and hospitals has been disrupted. Conferences, workshops, and seminars have been cancelled or have translated into Zoom meetings. In the beginning, everyone was focused on proving that we can adapt to the new methods of communication and we can be effective in doing so but as time is passing by, people started to lose their engagement. According to Tech Republic, “One-in-five professionals reported that they are actively listening and providing live feedback.”
More than 50% of professionals were not engaged during such calls and were not focusing on the information being shared. And also people are getting tired of always being on calls, switching from one screen to another. Pharmaceutical companies are stuck in a place where they cannot actively promote new products or share new medical research with the people who are using it on a daily basis. And on the other side, doctors who are subscribing to new medications need guidance and data-driven information on how to prescribe a drug or how to dose it for specific patients. All of this is causing declines in pharma sales and difficulties in covering the costs of new drug development.
Digitalisation of Internal Cross-Functional Operations
Pharmaceutical companies are among the largest corporations in the world with offices spread all over the globe and thousands of employees. Working remotely has put forward the need of digitization of internal processes and the time for making decisions, and delegating tasks. Take for example the drug discovery process which involves at least 4 different departments: research and development, clinical trials, marketing, legal and regulatory, sales. It is quite a lengthy process with a lot of information being shared and the need for an integrated IT ecosystem, which enables data sharing, in real-time, is increasing more and more. The other problem is that many of the systems which are used in big pharma companies are “legacy systems” which are, sometimes, using old technologies and are not so easy to customise and reflect changes in procedures.
Creation and Support of Patient-Centric Digital Platforms
Stepping a bit outside the discussion about pharmaceutical companies, another big trend and underutilized segment in the healthcare industry is the patient-centric communication channel. Due to social distancing people need to have more tools to communicate with doctors, wellness, and fitness coaches.
Also, due to the increasing amount of wearables devices which gather personal data, people need to have a place where they can track their full health story and be able to share it. Such platforms do not only include the electronic medical record (EMR) but also a place where people can share and track their mental health, nutritional regimes and edit them/make edits at any point. In order for such platforms to be successful, they need to have the following important building blocks: intuitive and engaging experience, modular architecture, very good data analytics, and direct communication channel with healthcare professionals.
Where Dreamix can create meaningful impact:
Dreamix is an established technological partner to many pharmaceutical and digital health companies. We specialise in leveraging advanced technology and business domain expertise to create scalable software solutions, specifically tailored to the needs of our clients. Some of our projects in the pharmaceutical/digital health industry include:
Artificial Intelligence-Driven Platform for Sales and Relationship Management
In 2020 we developed a sales and relationship management platform which uses advanced AI technology to connect medical representatives together with health professionals and institutions. The platform is using natural language processing to communicate information about new drugs, dosing, and academic research and to address all types of questions by healthcare professionals. The AI-driven chatbot annotates automatically all the uploaded content, by the pharma company, and shows only relevant information summarised in a visually appealing way. Together with the AI module, we built a customised data analytics module which tracks the engagement of users, analyses the questions, and provides real-time market insight which could be used for marketing and sales campaigns.
Patient-Centric Digital Platforms
We have designed and implemented a modular and scalable web and mobile platform which aggregates and interprets personal medical data and transforms statistics into a personal, globally accessible, health story. Using the largest structured health and wellness image library in the US, the platform offers comprehensive information about medical conditions and proposed next steps for tracking.
The key element of the platform was to create a scalable architecture and infrastructure which enables compliant sharing and storing of data, according to all HIPPA and GDPR regulations. Future steps of the development are to implement video and chat tools which would enable real-time doctor consultation and wellness coaching sessions.
Medical Research Platforms
Together with one of our biggest European clients, we have created a platform which enables easy sharing of information and medical research between different internal departments and cross-institutional. The platform allows pharma companies to plan and track the drug discovery lifecycle together with the marketing strategy and product launch milestones, combining academic research and market data. The platform is integrated directly with existing systems so they can share data and have a more comprehensive overview of the impact of the new product.
Data Analytics Modules for Forecasting Sales and Customer Engagement
A special focus in all our platforms has been to enable data transparency and data sharing across different systems. Some of our data analytics platforms have analyzed and visualized more than 4TB of sales and customer behaviour data. The combination of data and analysis of external factors (such as seasonality, demand, force majeure events) has enabled us to provide accurate prediction and “what if” analysis to improve cost planning and revenue streams.
Communication Platform For Personal Health Data
Together with a Swiss partner, we have created a compliant, modular, and easily integratable communication chat. The chat could be used as a stand-alone communication platform which facilitates the communication between patient and doctor, gives the ability to schedule doctor appointments and share medical test information, or as a plug-in to an existing solution. Using this platform doctors can create a more engaging relationship with their patients by setting up reminders, scheduling appointments or calls.
The advanced data analytics module enables doctors and users to track their activity, level of engagement, and historical information.
Enterprise Solutions for Digitalization of Pharma Trading Companies
Custom build ordering platform for the largest pharmaceutical trading company in the Middle East. The product’s main purpose is to optimise the process and decrease the cost for ordering pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. Тhe platform has a customer management section, where all the supplier contracts, pricing terms, and conditions are kept and updated.
As the second phase of this project, we would be integrating the ordering platform to a custom build point of sale system so that the full retail cycle for a product has been covered and automated.
Clinical Trials Matching and Performance Tracking Digital Platform
Using advanced technologies such as secret computing, cryptography, and data analytics Dreamix has created a product which allows big pharma companies and CROs to improve the patient selection and engagement process, and provide advanced data analytics, preserving data privacy. The platform addresses several critical points which affect the success of any clinical trial: patient engagement and data sharing. A special communication tool assists doctors to receive data from their patients, set scheduled reminders, and always be informed about the objectives and progress of the trial. All the data, structured or unstructured, is stored and segmented using Pryv’s consent management backend. With the assistance of secret computing pharma companies can perform advanced analysis on all the data, aggregated in different hospitals, locations, or countries. All of these modules are structured in a scalable, modular, and easy to navigate platform available on the web and mobile.