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COLUMNS
Improve healthcare access to tackle Asia’s healthcare challenge
Hyper-precise technology reinvents how healthcare is delivered.
By Karen Reddington

A steadily aging population is one of the most prominent challenges – and opportunities – for the healthcare sector in Asia. With over a billion people over the age of 50 forecast to be living in this region by 2025,1improving healthcare access is going to be key in meeting the growing demand for sophisticated treatments and bringing fragmented healthcare clusters closer together in the most effective way.

Just a decade ago, it would be difficult to imagine what is now possible through the intersection of global trade, healthcare and technology. For instance, a heart patient in Tokyo receiving a pacemaker made halfway around the world in just one night; or transporting sensitive biological samples for clinical studies between Japan, Korea and China to the US or Singapore.

Now the latest big technology shift sweeping healthcare globally is in the Internet of Things (IoT). We can now use networks of connected sensors to gather, see and send data, enabling an unprecedented degree of real-time tracking and tracing.

Using this data, pharmaceutical companies can map information such as location, light exposure, humidity, barometric pressure and shock. They can also ensure the integrity and security of temperature, one of the most pressing challenges for the modern industry. The information is exceptionally critical as about 40 percent of all healthcare products today are temperature-sensitive, and it is expected that eight of the top ten global biopharmaceutical products will require cold chain handling by 2020.2

While visibility and control are important in most industry supply chains, it is vital for healthcare. From biologic manufactured items to pharmaceuticals, the items the healthcare industry ships are sensitive and difficult to replace.3

Imagine if a shipment holding medicine that was personalized for the DNA of a cancer patient was spoiled or stolen. It is almost impossible to pull a substitute off the warehouse shelf and ship it overnight. The complete visibility of healthcare shipments is needed as medicines become more personalized and potent.

This is also why connecting every element in healthcare logistics is critical; hyper-precise technology provided by tiny sensor devices such as SenseAware® powered by FedEx are set to chart a new journey for the healthcare sector, as it moves ever steadily from a post-dated temperature tracking model to a live- tracking model.

These wireless sensors make it possible to view and monitor the temperature of a product anywhere in the world, making the entire journey of vital healthcare products ever smarter, more connected, accessible and compliant.

It is just one way digital is transforming the business of healthcare, and reinventing how healthcare as we know it is delivered.

References:

  1. World Report on Aging and Health, World Health Organization, 2015, http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/186463/1/9789240694811_eng.pdf
  2. “The BSMA and envirotainer collaborate to provide free education to the biopharma industry”, Healthcare Packaging, Jan 21, 2017, https://www.healthcarepackaging.com/article/bsma-and-envirotainer-collaborate-provide-free-education-biopharma-industry
  3. “Revolutionising how healthcare is delivered” PMGroup Worldwide, Nov 9, 2017, https://www.pmlive.com/pharma_news/revolutionising_how_healthcare_is_delivered_1210664

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