Life sciences companies are in the hot seat. They are held to the highest standards for safety, quality, and efficacy. The burden of achieving these standards falls on the manufacturing department (among others). Manufacturing drugs or medical devices requires a hyper-focus on risk abatement and quality.
Of course, there are still time-to-market pressures, and the Internet of Things (IoT) brings new help to achieve these difficult manufacturing expectations.
High quality, high productivity, speed: the IoT makes it all possible
The Internet of Things enables direct machine-to-machine interactions. It utilizes real-time data feeds from sensors and IoT-enabled devices that facilitate remote tracking, monitoring, management, and networking to improve the speed and precision of production execution and planning. Real-time information from product components, batches, and machines enables predictive risk mitigation.
Similarly, sensor data be used to proactively mitigate machine failure. This helps life sciences companies improve reliability and quality so that patients benefit from a responsive supply chain. These efficiency gains lower the cost of production.
Enabling personalized medicine
But for the life sciences industry, the greatest promise of the Internet of Things lies in the area of personalized medicine; i.e., enabling the production of batch sizes of one. It does this by embedding production orders within an individual part or an individual therapeutic batch. At the assembly stage, those directions are passed onto intelligent software. The software performs a live adjustment for the single unit. This video illustrates how this process works.
Stronger patient-centricity for medical device companies
The IoT can also increase customer-centricity. Medical device companies deal with costly devices vital to patients’ health. These devices are generally used for prolonged periods, so experience considerations are crucial. Continuous Internet-enabled monitoring of medical devices can better anticipate required maintenance so that service technicians can be called proactively and doctors notified before a failure occurs.
Additionally, sensor-collected information can provide a feedback loop to the device manufacturer. This insight allows for faster improvements in design and quality. Before the IoT, neither the speed, depth, nor quantity of data were available to provide the near real-time insight required to support these kinds of conclusions.
The Internet of Things can also improve therapies, patient experience, and collaboration. Wearables enable constant measurement of body traits. This lets patients control their health better and allows physicians to adapt therapies according to the patient’s exact condition. Roche Diagnostics Accu-Chek is one example that validates this point.
Increasingly, in-the-moment collaboration opportunities exist as old boundaries between machines, people, and processes are blurring. The Internet of Things will bring new opportunities beyond time savings and increased precision. It’s an exciting time to work in life sciences.
If you would like to learn more about how IoT, Big Data, and other technology trends are disrupting the life sciences industry, read the whitepaper The Digital Health Sciences Network and follow @SAP_Healthcare on Twitter.