The adoption of new technology in the pharmaceutical industry has been traditionally slow, due to the strict compliance and regulatory guidelines. In order to manage all these regulations properly, pharma companies need to use the latest technology to track everything from patient information, clinical trial data, and medication inventory.
Emerging technologies like cloud computing can help change how the pharma industry operates. It provides innovative ways of sharing data and collaborating, which facilitates world-changing discoveries.
Around 65% of healthcare organizations will increase their technology spend on public cloud infrastructure services over the next year or two, with 20% of pharma organizations investing in hybrid cloud management software.
The digital transformation of the pharma industry is no longer the future – it is happening right now. How does cloud computing factor into this change?
Cloud is more than a storage solution
While the term cloud computing is vague, its meaning is quite simple – the storage and access of data and programs via the internet.
While cloud computing resources are mostly known for the ability to store unlimited data, its capabilities extend far beyond this option. The cloud provides functionalities such as worldwide collaboration, swift and real-time access to clinical research, and minimizing reliance on physical IT infrastructure.
Pharma companies today are highly scrutinized, facing significant security, compliance and competitive challenges that are transformed by the adoption of cloud computing.
While much of what the pharma industry does is to further the health of the global population, it is still a business and a competitive industry at that. Time is of the essence when researching and developing new drugs or treatments and clinical trials involve high risk investment.
Out of 5,000 drugs, only one will ever make its way onto the market. For that one drug discovery to be available to consumers, it takes an average of ten years to reach the standard of safety and quality necessary, which can cost up to $1.5 billion before it’s available.
Increasing the efficiency and speed of clinical research and development is obviously important and cloud technology is the ideal solution to power this move forward. Vast amounts of data stored on the cloud can be processed via data analytic machine learning to identify patterns or insights to speed up research and the development of future trials.
In addition, adopting cloud services means freedom from upfront costs and the complexities of buying and maintaining IT infrastructure, driving down the cost of projects overall. Instead, they can pay for what they use as it’s needed and avoid the loss of investment in outdated or legacy systems.
The time and cost savings cloud enables can then be reinvested into further research and development.
The pharma industry relies heavily on collaborative efforts from an array of associates, including academics, research institutions, and other pharma companies.
Cloud technology enables the bringing together of these collaborative partners who can be located anywhere around the globe. Multiple offices sites and facilities can be integrated into an efficient platform of collaboration via cloud technology, streamlining information and workflow.
Cloud infrastructure provides researchers and partners with the ability to share data and information at all times, without concern for delays in connectivity or access.
Scalability and agility
The cloud offers greater scalability capabilities to the pharma industry, helping to reduce costs by simplifying IT infrastructure. The cloud’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model allows access to tools and services as needed, rather than investing in expensive software or hardware for one-time use.
Collaborative partners can be added with only the access to services they need, and teams can be easily scaled up or down depending on the type of project. At different points throughout the development phase, there may be a need for more, or less, teams involved, and cloud platforms offer organizations the agility to make changes without excessive cost or time burdens.
There has been a long-standing concern with pharma companies that cloud environments are less secure than onsite IT systems. Security is critical in the pharmaceutical industry, and cloud service providers can provide the expertise and ability to ensure continuous security monitoring. In addition, they provide incident response management, which is something that few inhouse IT departments can manage on a large scale, particularly when multiple sites, collaborators and companies are involved.
Rather than general security solutions across multiple applications, cloud-based solutions continually update to counter the volatile threat landscape by security analysts with that single purpose.
Most cloud providers subject themselves to intense security audits. This is because they need to provide a lot of security guarantees the average pharmaceutical company cannot realistically do with their on-premises data center.
Meeting regulatory requirements is a prime objective for any organization that is part of the pharmaceutical industry. Regulations are made by agencies around the globe to ensure the quality and safety of products that are made by organizations in their industry.
Regulatory compliance ensures organizations in the pharmaceutical industries can find, mitigate and eliminate risk at all stages of the development and marketing of their products. Complying with regulations, such as HIPPA, offers the highest guarantee of the efficacy and safety of a pharma product.
Cloud services providers work closely with pharmaceutical clients to ensure they comply with compliance and regulatory guidelines. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets an example for the companies it regulates by entrusting its own data to a public cloud provider.
What is the future of cloud computing and pharma?
As of 2020, the global market value of the pharmaceutical industry was almost $1.3 trillion USD. The pharma industry has experienced serious growth in the past two decades, and the future will continue to see a marketplace that becomes increasingly globalized.
The explosion of data and reliance on secure collaboration means pharma industries must scale up to cope with the demands ahead. As regulation and security concerns are worked through, cloud technology will transform the pharmaceutical industry, encouraging a seamless transition to a new business paradigm.
The cloud experts at BCS365 can help transform your business and take advantage of the agility and cost efficiency of cloud computing