Mapping the Way

The global healthcare scene is projected to be worth US$8.7 trillion . Karen Reddington, president of FedEx Express Asia Pacific, provides insights on how Internet of Things and real-time data are transforming the healthcare supply chain.

Hyper-precise technology is charting a new journey in healthcare

Once a novelty, Google Maps is now a “go-to”[1] navigation tool.  Want to explore the globe with a swipe of your finger? Try Google Earth. Interested in how our digital and physical worlds are merging? Start gaming using Pokémon Go, with its augmented reality map.

All three apps live inside our phones and reflect a real-time view of the world around us.

Yet today’s digital connections are also preparing us to map much, much more.

Even 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 big technology shift sweeping the global connection of healthcare is in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Just as we might zoom in and out to see any part of the globe on a map-enabled app, we can today 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 today map critical 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 industry.

Like nearly every other area of commerce, healthcare is now a global market, with about 40 per cent of all healthcare products estimated to be temperature-sensitive[2].

And while visibility and control is important in most industry supply chains, it’s absolutely vital for healthcare. From biologic manufactured items to pharmaceuticals, the items the healthcare industry ships are important, sensitive and difficult to replace[3].

Tiny sensing devices such as SenseAware® powered by FedEx are just one example of hyper-precise technology that’s today charting a new journey for healthcare, 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’s just one way digital is transforming the business of healthcare, and reinventing how healthcare as we know it is delivered.

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[1] Alternative wording might be “bona fide”

[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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