“Save Paper Here and There, Don’t Waste it Anywhere”
This is probably a green activists slogan but it is highly time that we wake up to support the younger generation towards fixing the damage that we are mostly responsible for.
Having spent many years in the pharmaceutical industry I still cannot understand why are still using what is called Patient Information Leaflet for example in Europe or also Patient Package Insert in the US instead of using today’s digital technologies and in particular QR codes for example.
A simple QR code on the drug packaging could redirect the patient to a smartphone application which would not only provide the patient usage instruction but which could also provide additional functionalities that could even become a competitive advantage for the pharmaceutical companies.
Brand Protection: unique QR Code to check if your product is genuine
Patient Education: ensure your patient have adequate knowledge on drug use with simple illustration and voice prompt in their local language
Reminder: get timely notifications to ensure your patient follows prescriptions
Verified History: patient can see all drugs they have validated using that genuine app
Patient Insights: get real time supply chain management insights from warehouse to end user
Optimised Security: using for example blockchain technology
This list contains only a few examples and is not exhaustive at all as additional functionalities might be added moving even more towards the digital therapeutics market and providing also additional insights to the whole healthcare industry from Pharmaceutical companies to Doctors and other Caregivers.
Additionally I see five key reasons to go paperless and stop those Patient Information Leaflets or Patient Package Insert:
1. Better Patient Security
Patient would always have the latest version of the instructions and could select their preferred language (e.g. being an Italian living in Switzerland)
2. Improved Customer Service
The application itself would not only be in the patient preferred language but it would also allow to have a customer service taking into account that preference while at the same time providing much more functionalities than the simple paper leaflet as listed above.
3. Increased Productivity
Information and reminder received by the patient as well as the information fed into the application by the patient as for example the drug adherence or potentially other information like body temperatures, sleeping patterns or steps to name only a few could significantly increase the productivity of the healthcare players including also doctors and caregivers.
4. Reduced Operating Costs
Operating costs could significantly decrease firstly from a supply chain point of view as you would not have to produce different manufacturing batches because of the leaflet language required by each single country, thus reducing and optimizing your worldwide inventories (the same manufactured product could be send as well to Turkey as to Germany or any other countries independently of the language required as the QR code app would take care of the local specificities and languages)
From a manufacturing point of view removing the folding and inserting of the leaflets during the packaging process could consequently reduce the production costs.
5. Environmental Friendly
Lastly it is obvious that tons of papers and therefore countless trees could be saved while at the same time provide a better patient safety solution.
Embarking on such an environmental oriented path might also open the door to address other drug packaging materials from plastic blisters and aluminum foils to plastic bottles and steel tubes.
To conclude we should of course mot forget all the patients who might not have a smartphone to run the QR based application on which could be addressed through a collaboration with pharmacies who would print the required instructions for the patient in their pharmacy and probably in a much better readable format as the small and tiny version included in today’s drug packaging.
Defining himself as a Digital Activist, Philippe is a recognized inspirational speaker, a futurist as well as a mentor/coach with a proven record of accomplishment especially in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. He is regularly speaking about Digital Health including Digital Therapeutics, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain for Pharma, Internet of Things or other Digital Transformation topics in the Healthcare industry at major events and conferences. While he is mainly speaking in Europe, he is also well known in Asia where he is actually an Industry Advisor for IoTSG, the biggest special interest group around the Internet of Things in South East Asia. Philippe is also an official mentor for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and is actually working since more than 12 years at the Novartis Headquarter in Switzerland, most recently as an IT Supplier Manager.