Digital twin technology is helping to reshape pharmaceutical supply chains and patient healthcare, a report from Avery Dennison suggests.
Avery Dennison is a multinational manufacturer and distributor of labels, tags, RFID tech, and specialty medical products.
In the study, pharmaceutical companies revealed their plans to implement a range of digital identification technologies to boost supply chain efficiency over coming years.
Almost a quarter (22%) said that RFID is considered one of the best solutions to reduce supply chain waste, while the use of blockchain for supply chain tracking is currently being used by 6.3% of respondents, but is set to rise to 95% in three years, says the report.
The proliferation of digital twins – enabled by digital-ID technologies – has great potential for transforming healthcare delivery, says the company.
Jenni Krohn is Healthcare Market Development at Avery Dennison, and she says: “Digital identification solutions including RFID and NFC (near-field communication) have been disrupting industries and transforming supply chains across automotive, logistics, apparel and food for a number of years.
“Now it is the turn of pharma and medical device companies to explore digital twin technologies and benefit from the vast business and societal opportunities of physical-digital convergence.”
A digital twin holds all the information about a physical item – such as a medical device, a pharma product or a laboratory sample – and spans the lifecycle of the product, from manufacturing to point of delivery to caregiver or patient.
RFID-enabled digital twin tech is pharma boost
Using real-time data, digital twins can be leveraged for multiple purposes such as track and trace, inventory accuracy, product authentication and patient safety.
Krohn adds: “RFID is the most cost-effective technology capable of broadening the scope of the Internet of Things (IoT). It is an easy and secure way for patients and caregivers to engage with medicines and diagnostic devices.”
She continues: “Digital twins create a unique digital identifier for every single item in the supply chain and can boost productivity at all stages, from drug manufacturers to hospital care.
“For pharmaceutical manufacturers it enables end-to-end digitalisation, improves control over the quality of the product, and helps with recalls without modification to existing production lines.
“For supply chain operators, it offers end-to-end visibility, reduces supply chain disruptions and helps manage inventory, recalls and temperature monitoring.”
She adds that, at point of care, digital twin tech offers increased visibility, tracking and security capabilities for healthcare facilities and patients.
“In hospitals and pharmacies it facilitates automated medication and inventory management and reduces the risk of medication errors,” she adds. “Automating processes at healthcare facilities improves workflows, making processes easier, and reducing human errors.”
RFID-driven digital twin tech can also can help prevent misdiagnoses and promote better clinical outcomes, by reducing the risk of human errors such as mislabelling or laboratory sample mix-ups, says Krohn.
“Digital twins can also make it easier and more cost-effective to customise medical treatments to individuals based on their unique genetic makeup, anatomy, behaviour and other factors,” she says.
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