Over 50 years ago, the movie Fantastic Voyage thrilled audiences with the idea that people could be miniaturized and injected into a scientist to find and break up a clot that is threatening the scientist’s life.
We still can’t send people in a tiny submarine through someone’s bloodstream, but a guest column in Pharmaceutical Online describes the FDA approval of a digital pill that enables a physician to monitor a patient’s compliance with medication regimens and the response to the medication.
An ingestible sensor that is integrated with the pill captures information as the patient takes the medication. The sensor transmits data to a patch worn on the patient’s torso, which also captures physiologic measures. The combination of data is then sent to a mobile phone application that allows both the patient and the physician to track the use of and reaction to the medication.
The authors point out that this technology will greatly improve physicians’ ability to monitor compliance, review efficacy of treatment to adjust medication, and improve outcomes. The insight provided by such precise information is invaluable to efforts to improve patient care and research.
As the technology is further evaluated and adopted, a bigger concern should be addressed. This is another, new source of data that – while beneficial – will create an abundance of information that must be integrated, aggregated and normalized to be effectively used throughout the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
New data-producing technologies are appearing faster than healthcare and life sciences companies can manage. Much of this valuable information is collected in silos and legacy systems that limit access across the enterprise. This means that the data may be there, but the people who need to analyze it in relation to other factors can’t easily use it due to differences in formats or languages.
A digital pill won’t be available for all diseases and all patients, in fact, the first use is likely to focus on specific psychiatric conditions for which adherence to a medication plan is critical. However, this exciting new technology is emerging and will be adopted by hospitals and physicians focused on improving outcomes. This is only one small part of the digital transformation that is happening in both the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
As we all know, these changes happen quickly, so organizations should take steps now to be ready to handle the volume and velocity of data that will continue to come from existing and as-yet-undiscovered sources.
This is not an easy task as budgets and information technology staff are pushed to their limits. Finding the right partner to support this digital transformation is essential. Taking advantage of modern integration architectures and managed services enables organizations to gain adaptability, scalability and agility, as well as fill resource gaps while staying current on compliance requirements.
More importantly, digital transformation is an ongoing effort because new technologies are continually introduced and organizational priorities change. Because agility and flexibility are the keys to a successful digital transformation, adopting a flexible technology architecture today makes it easier to embrace changes that will inevitably come tomorrow.
Are you ready for healthcare’s “fantastic voyage” through the new digital world?