When looking at the impact that technology, research, and innovation have had on medicine through the past few centuries, it is wild to see how much practices have changed in the diagnosing and treatment of patients. The Pharmaceutical Industry has skyrocketed in the past century as the medicine being prescribed is becoming more powerful each day. However, the growth of this industry has not came without setbacks. In the past decade the Pharmaceutical Industry has gone through polarizing debates such as mainstreaming pharmaceutical information, regulating client’s prescriptions, security of clientele records and many other intense topics. As research continues, pharmacists are becoming more knowledgable of the medicine that they are providing. The customers are demanding greater clarity with their prescription pickups, side effects, and any other relevant info so that they can be informed of the medicine as well.
People live busy lives and their medicine can often slip their minds as they are on their way out the door in the morning or in a hurry to get home from work. However, medicine plays a vital role for many and forgetting to take a daily dose or to pick up a prescription can be detrimental blow to one’s day. Pharmaceutical companies can aid their customers in many ways by developing B2C mobile applications. Features such as push notifications help remind you to take your medicine or tell you when a prescription has been delivered to your pharmacy. Also, customers can look up side effects to their medicine if they can’t reach their clinician, or if they have a quick question that can be answered without a phone call. Novartis offers a mobile app called “My NET Manager” which is an app for neuroendocrine tumor (NET) patients, to help educate them on their condition. On top of push notifications for medication and appointment reminders, and side affects information, this app also allows patients to review and track test results. Physicians are often very busy so giving the patients this information can reduce stress and time wasted on waiting for the physicians to respond. Another way B2C applications can help pharmaceutical companies is with setting up clinical trials. Providing patients and doctors with an efficient medium to communicate allows both sides to find each other when doctors are looking to start a trial. Patients also can also educate themselves on finding the best trial for them by searching trials within the application through various filters to tailor to their trial requirements. Ultimately, this will get the right patients into the correct trials allowing for safer and more thorough experiments.
The need for mobile within the pharmaceutical industry also extends to B2B or B2E applications. Mobile apps can allow physicians to collaborate and share information on drugs, patient conditions, successful treatments, and more, enabling faster and better decision-making. Say a physician is interested in giving a new drug to his patient but is unsure about how effective it is and what side effects have been observed. Giving them a mobile app with easily searchable information on trials done on that drug can allow them to view other physicians studies, and even contact them through the app if they have further questions. Also, with the ability of mobile apps to connect securely to Electronic Health Records and manage user authentication, authorized clinicians can also share specific patient details and images in order to improve diagnoses and treatment plans.
Prior to the digitalization of business processes, paper-based records were kept highly confidential since paper documents were more likely to fall into the wrong hands or get lost. This closed system, while securing patient information, also acted as a barrier to shared learnings, ultimately impacting patient outcomes. Now, healthcare providers work in a more open and collaborative environment where mobile apps have security features such as login credentials to make sure records are only accessed by those who are authorized. Sharing and collaboration are the future in industries such as pharmaceutical, and mobile, social, cloud, and open technologies are the perfect foundation for this.
The legacy systems and applications that pharmaceutical companies currently use, while highly valuable to the business, are often outdated and not designed for the digital era. However, effective mobile apps rely on the data from these systems of record as well as securing the flow of data from device to the backend systems and vice versa. Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS) and Mobile Application Platforms emerged with the advent of enterprise mobility to enable such secure and controlled integration through API-based approaches that make the data from legacy systems consumable by the mobile app on device. By switching to mobile apps, physicians can now access records, trials, and other valuable information on the go and in an efficient, timely and secure way. Even when they are in remote areas with poor or no network connectivity, data sync functionality allows them to work offline and sync their data once back online.
There are many different options when deploying a mobile app strategy. If an organization has multiple mobile app projects that need to access backend systems, then developing on a mobile application platform is a highly efficient option as the platform centralizes the backend integrations (APIs, common backend connectors, cloud service connectors, etc.) and makes them discoverable and reusable to the frontend developers. This platform approach also gives a high degree of visibility and control to IT without stifling frontend app design and innovation by the business people. By using a platform, the app code, credentials and core management functions are in one central location making the lifecycle management of the apps much more efficient than bespoke app development.
Collaboration and innovation is the key to advancing the way that pharmaceutical companies operate. Giving doctors and physicians the ability to collaborate with each other and also share that information with their patients, will educate and lead to faster innovation and improved patient outcomes. Identifying and prioritizing pharmaceutical business processes that lend themselves to the mobile channel and yield opportunities for quick business outcomes is always a good starting place.
For more of the benefits that mobile can bring to the Pharmaceutical Industry, read our Ebook, Mobile Apps: An Effective Rx for the Pharmaceutical Industry.