“Technology has opened up new avenues for the industry, but it has also accelerated the supply chain”

Deepa Param Singhal

With the growing importance and demand as the population increases, the Indian pharmaceutical industry has several challenges to contend with. Disruption on the supply chain front is one of the biggest challenges facing pharmaceutical player stocks Deepa Param SinghalVice President, Cloud Applications, Oracle with Garima trousers from Elets News Network (ENN). Modified excerpts:

What are the factors driving the growth of the Indian pharmaceutical and healthcare sector?

Indian pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are expanding rapidly and showing strong momentum due to a variety of reasons and the pandemic has accelerated this growth. According to the IBEF report, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is evolving at a rapid pace and ranks third in pharmaceutical production by volume, growing at a CAGR of 9.43% over the past nine years. Another report from the IBEF says that the Indian healthcare industry is witnessing tremendous growth attributed to the country’s rising income, better health awareness and wider access to health insurance, and is projected to reach the 372 billion dollars by the end of the current year.

There are some significant and unique trends that are driving the growth of the Indian healthcare and pharmaceutical industry. The pandemic has triggered numerous changes, the first being a change in people’s perception and knowledge of medical services and health programs, who are now more involved in the process of care. Second, the teleconsultation model has become the preferred mode of communication and is driving current healthcare processes. Concepts such as e-health and teleconsultations have created numerous opportunities to bring flexibility and ease of communication. Thirdly, the emphasis by government and private actors on digitizing the sector is revolutionizing the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry and propelling it forward by unifying data and streamlining internal processes with automation.

The rapid increase in technology increases the risks. What is the biggest challenge facing the pharmaceutical industry today?

With the growing importance and demand as the population increases, the Indian pharmaceutical industry has several challenges to contend with. These challenges include supply chain disruptions, the need for a skilled workforce, workforce optimization, the collection and analysis of massive amounts of data, and the need for agility and transparency.

For example, disruption on the supply chain front is one of the biggest challenges facing pharmaceutical players. Post-pandemic, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries have realized the adversity of traditional supply chain models and the need for an integrated supply chain that is better equipped to coordinate with logistics and connect stakeholders with ease and transparency. Digitizing the supply chain model is crucial for companies working in the pharmaceutical sector to ensure the timely delivery of services in a vast country like India with broader needs.

The technology has opened up new avenues for the industry, but it has also accelerated it and created a larger playing field for the supply chain. It has made it essential for organizations to scale and speed up their operations.

The adoption of smart technologies like Al/ML, cloud and other emerging technologies within healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations is becoming critical for the industry to address these existing challenges and create much more sustainable operations.

How is cloud computing transforming, supporting and enabling healthcare professionals as they cater to India’s massive population?

With the population growing, there is a heavy burden on healthcare and pharmaceutical providers to penetrate the rural population with the delivery of medicines and healthcare. As manual processes slow down operations, the need to make healthcare operations automated, scalable, fast and agile is critical for healthcare organizations.

Emerging technology-powered solutions are helping organizations address these challenges and help them improve quality, accessibility and convenience by reducing manual processes and providing a unified platform to oversee and deliver quality patient care to India’s massive population .

With cloud capabilities, organizations are providing better communication between healthcare professionals, improved medical safety, reduced medical errors, and improved accessibility to medical information. Automating internal manual processes with cloud-enabled solutions is introducing new opportunities and driving accelerated operational capabilities for healthcare organizations. Process automation essentially serves as a backstop for the industry, freeing frontline workers from time-consuming manual processes and allowing them to spend more time on patient care. With cloud-enabled solutions, it’s easier for organizations to improve all their internal and external processes. Additionally, cloud computing helps organizations manage and upskill their workforce and prepare them for new techniques and approaches in a highly dynamic environment.

Digitalization, big data and artificial intelligence are accelerating the transformation of the pharmaceutical industry and enabling companies to improve drug development and patient care. How are healthcare needs and new technologies transforming the pharmaceutical supply chain?

The pandemic has triggered significant changes, completely transforming the way the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries operate. Given the large operational scope, complex infrastructure and large populations, the challenges for healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations are even more difficult to overcome. The incorporation of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning and data analytics into the pharmaceutical system is significantly contributing to the scale and flexibility needed by the industry. Integration with technology has opened the door to world-class patient care and drug development. Automation has made internal processes smooth and digital infrastructure is paving the way for fast and timely delivery of services. As organizations embark on their digitalization journey, the adoption of advanced solutions with integrated technologies such as AI, ML and data analytics are driving their journeys.

With the rapid expansion and compromised efficiency of traditional supply chain services, organizations are looking for alternatives. Here, cloud computing acts as a prop for pharmaceutical players. Cloud SCM for Healthcare efficiently helps companies guide them through the digital supply chain model and provides a unified platform to oversee all end-to-end logistics operations. With the fierce competition in the market, the quest to reduce costs and develop drugs efficiently is driving the industry. Thus, the adoption of cloud-based technology is proving to be the differentiator for the success and ultimately improvement of the pharmaceutical and healthcare infrastructure of the country.

Could you elaborate on the recent health announcements and their impact on the development of the sector?

Integrating technology with healthcare infrastructure is creating a huge scope for efficiencies, and market trends indicate that both healthcare and pharmaceutical providers are realizing this and are therefore increasing their investments in the cloud. Oracle has been a technology supplier to various healthcare and pharmaceutical providers such as Apollo Hospitals, Indira IVF, Omega Healthcare, Aurobindo Pharma, Shri Ganga Ram Hospitals and many more. Considering our experience in the industry, we constantly strive to introduce new and advanced solutions. With our industry research and analysis, we realized that in the current scenario, the healthcare industry needs specialized customized solutions to effectively manage their operations. After acknowledging the challenges, we announced the availability of new industry-focused solutions at our flagship event Oracle Cloud World (October 17-22, 2022), Human Capital Management for Healthcare, Enterprise Performance Management for Healthcare, and Supply Chain Management for Healthcare Healthcare as part of our portfolio of existing applications with customized functionality for the healthcare sector.

As the adoption of cloud-based solutions becomes a norm, we are committed to providing customized solutions within our portfolio of healthcare applications to drive efficiencies and growth. With the Supply-Chain Management for Healthcare solution, we aim to support the unique requirements of healthcare organizations by automating processes, improving visibility and transparency, and optimizing planning throughout the supply chain. Likewise, HCM for healthcare organizations with employee experience, upskilling, and people management. Our EPM for Healthcare Solutions targets healthcare organizations with better planning and management of their internal processes. Organizations can optimize their internal strategies in the best possible way and leverage innovative technologies to improve knowledge, reduce costs and improve patient care with these solutions.

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