Meticulous Medicine Management; Courtesy IoT

Smart refrigerators will soon become a cliché. Managing medicines requires utmost precision and IoT is the next step to attain that precision.

The market for pharmaceuticals is one of the biggest around the globe. On the flipside, it’s arguably one of the riskiest markets to be part of. It’s common knowledge that medicines lose effectiveness when handled in an improper manner. This includes simply loss of effectiveness due to time slippage and more worryingly, not adhering to recommended storage temperatures. Non-compliance with storage in recommended temperature range at the patient level accounts for a massive 90% medicines and vaccines losing potent effectiveness.

This adversely affects healthcare, leads to complications and fails to offer the protection from diseases as advertised. At the company level, this accounts for a herculean $637 billion loss in revenue for pharmaceutical companies. It’s now imperative to look for better solutions than refrigerated cooling, at both patient and provider levels.

IoT Rises to the Challenge; AntTail‘s Solution

Considering the delicate nature of products in such an industry, it’s clear there is little to no room for error. To negate risks, an upgrade in technology across the chain is the need of the hour. Astonishingly, the solution need not be as high-cost/high-tech as it may seem. The notion of simple track and trace IoT apps being able to deliver better and safer products is surprisingly comforting. While the notion doesn’t carry the wow factor, in an industry with limited scope for mistakes, the glamour isn’t really what matters. It’s the effectiveness of the solution that matters.

Simplicity has been key to how AntTail, a dutch supply chain start-up, has tackled the problem at hand. Alongside it’s partner Mendix, they have been providing small hardware sensors and SaaS solutions to their pharmaceutical clients. These sensors enable tracking products across the supply chain, right from dispatch to pharmacy to end user.

AntTail’s sensors have an astounding battery life of 18 months. Moreover, they use a proprietary network to communicate; surpassing the need to use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards, thereby reducing power consumption. The sensors merely have to be placed on boxes, pallets and product packaging and warehouses. Once in place, these sensors transmit data for storage on Amazon’s AWS cloud. AntTail’s app; Built-on-Mendix then interprets the data, connecting it with the users’ prevalent processes and draws intelligence from the hardware. In the event of something being out of place, an automatic alert triggers, prompting swift action from staff members.

The sensors monitor temperatures, package opening time and even the likelihood of tracking when the meds are consumed. By connecting patient consumption patterns with hospital reports and back-records, patterns can be observed in real-time. This enables immediate action in case of any anomaly. The low-cost data gathering, processing and analysis the sensor and app combination offers is a great marker for effective solutions that offer better decision making capabilities.

Keeping It Simple Across the Supply Chain

Countless industries rely on traditional, legacy logistics systems to manage their supply chain, including  pharmaceuticals. AntTail is a pioneer that showcases how keeping solutions simple can be just as effective. IoT has started seeping into the supply chain slowly. While it is still in its infancy, it’s now evident that it can have a big role to play in the years to come. The delicate nature of the pharma-industry demands attention to detail. IoT brings detail, precision and if applied right, even cost effectiveness to the table. A much needed and much anticipated change is on its way and it looks particularly great for the world of medicine.

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