Covid-19 put the strengths and weaknesses of pharmaceutical logistics on the table, giving way to a new form of demand for pharmaceutical products that require greater efficiency in health logistics.
Having state-of-the-art healthcare that provides answers to the current and future problems of the population is something that all governments seek. Within these concerns, health logistics plays an essential role.
Within it, pharmaceutical logistics is key to getting all kinds of health products to hospitals, health centers and homes, especially when experiencing situations as serious as those we experienced in 2020 and 2021.
Two crucial years to assess the quality of health logistics in emergencies , where warehouse management, as well as the data or, rather, the prediction that they can give us, are key.
Digital transformation in healthcare logistics
One of the challenges of health logistics is the digital transformation of hospitals, health centers, pharmacies and laboratories that provide both material and medicines to deal with the different health problems of society.
This transformation means greater efficiency in health logistics, where the transport of goods requires special care and pharmaceutical logistics requires the maximum security guarantees.
To do this, the digital transformation of healthcare logistics involves the implementation of the following innovative tools :
We have already mentioned that the information revealed by both Big data and predictive data help to optimize transport and warehouse management costs, by being able to better calculate the space we need, the infrastructure or tools necessary to keep the goods in the best conditions. medicines.
In addition, the periodic review of the machinery will prevent the production chain from having to stop due to previously unresolved problems, something that can pose a serious problem at times of high demand.
Optimally calibrate the refrigeration and maintenance systems of medical devices and that these are connected to the company's information systems, so that those responsible have immediate access to temperature changes that could damage the products.
Big data and predictive data
Through various artificial intelligence systems and uniting the different data provided by the different public and private entities related to health, Big Data allows pharmaceutical companies:
- Improvements for patients: and for the population in general, by being able to anticipate the virulence, arrival or prevalence of certain diseases, which allows for a more effective response regarding treatments and patient care.
- Anticipate demand : and thus avoid stock breaks throughout the year and especially in the most difficult times, in addition to better optimizing your warehouses, thanks to predictive data, which also means a reduction in the costs of storage.
- Improve the transport of goods : because they will be able to optimize both the demand for specific vehicles and facilitate the distribution of products, reducing delivery times.
Traceability guarantees the safety of medicines, but also the health of patients, for example, when the bracelets they wear when they enter the hospital include RFID tagging, which is practically impossible to violate.
In addition, the traceability of a sanitary product allows us to know: where it has been produced, what its composition is and where it has been distributed. In this way, in the event that a product has to be withdrawn because there has been a problem with it, locating it and removing it from the market will be much faster and more effective.
In the same way, traceability, through RFID labeling, allows us to know if a product is legal or not when it is sold , depending on the regulations in force in each country, thus dealing with fraud and avoiding causing health problems for the population. .
Pharmaceutical picking allows:
- Quickly and easily identify a product
- Entry and exit registration in the product management system of the company, pharmacy and/or health center
- Minimize data recording errors and, therefore, supply or stock-out errors.
- Offer the product to the customer or patient more quickly
Common problems in healthcare logistics
When a pharmaceutical company, health center or pharmacy does not commit to innovation or digitization in healthcare logistics, the problems it faces are:
- Lack of foresight and, therefore, stock breaks, generally at the most delicate times of the year. The lack of immediate response in these cases increases, in turn, health spending, since there are more possibilities for patients to be admitted to hospitals and that their stay will be longer or that the treatments will have to be more expensive as the disease worsens. situation.
- Tool obsolescence . That there are errors in the production of medicines, delaying their delivery, with the supply problems that this causes.
- Lack of secure data recording. Not having correct traceability of medical devices makes them less safe and, therefore, society is more exposed to purchasing products that are not in optimal conditions or that do not fall within the legal sales range.
- Lack of coordination between the physical store and the online store , in the case of pharmacies, having supply problems or out of stock, both for customers who buy online, and for those who come to your establishment.
The increase in the age of the population, as well as that of diseases that are increasingly widespread throughout the world, which require immediate attention to avoid more serious admissions or deaths, makes it necessary to commit to innovation in health logistics.