Acceleration of teleconsultation and e-pharmacy is the new normal. The pandemic and life in a post-crisis world shone a bright light on the gaps in the healthcare industry. The sector was forced to digitise almost overnight. Rebooted and revamped, the healthcare sector now is witnessing constant growth and evolution, with many startups and government initiatives supporting closing the gaps in traditional healthcare and with telemedicine and online pharmacies leading the democratisation of healthcare facilities.
The sector has seen unprecedented growth, especially in e-pharmacy in the following key silos –
1. AI – Replacing conventional labour-intensive and time consuming processes, AI powered tools help in swift, remote, and all-time accessible solutions for the delivery, diagnosis, and prevention. The application of artificial intelligence across the various processes of prevention and cure helps in speeding up the process by answering general FAQs, scheduling appointments, and recommending doctors et al for patients.
2. Privacy and Reduced medicinal error – Application of tech tools in healthcare help in analysing patient records and flagging discrepancies between prescribed drugs or understanding the health background of a patient with data at just a click away. Besides this, with digitisation comes the issue of cyber security. The evolution of technology is helping keep patient data safe and confidential. Proper management of sensitive medical information, and financial billing details are helping in the rapid expansion and acceptance of e-healthcare systems.
3. Doorstep and rapid deliveries – E-commerce and Q-commerce now have a stronghold in the market even in the healthcare sector. Facilities like rapid delivery, multi-point pickups and customised delivery slots have catapulted the growing graph of e-pharmacies and telemedicine.
4. Promptness – The ability to discern demands and react on priority is of paramount importance. The opportunities that are arising due to rapid digitisation are available for companies with the right tech tools in place. Recognising these gaps and opportunities and moulding the supply chain in time to avail of these opportunities have become instrumental for growth in the healthcare sector. Thus, giving companies an impetus to smoothen their first-mile and last-mile operations.
5. Coherent collaboration and Shipping optimisation – With millions of deliveries plying the globe, ensuring an effective and automated flow of information through the supply chain across the various cogs in a company augment sales. With improved access to real-time data, AI based solutions and IoT, supply chain agility helps in making informed decisions in volatile market conditions. Juggling multiple suppliers, multiple pick-up points and varied delivery streams, especially in E-commerce and Q-commerce can lead to inefficiencies and solving this bottleneck is one of the major trends that healthcare is witnessing. Identifying and computing these variables and zeroing in on the most efficient shipping methods while minimising costs contributes to supply chain agility.
6. Advanced data analysis – One of the key trends that aid the growth of supply chain evolution is Cloud Computing and AI. Supply chains gather and generate big data, which is then converted into insights by cloud computing and AI. This segmentation of big data into understandable insights has transformed how supply chains operate and it continues to evolve and get even more precise and complex with time. Cloud computing and AI helps businesses scale operations in crunched time by augmenting customer support, supplier selection based on past performance, real-time tracking of shipments and personnel, and anticipating consumer behaviour changes and operational trends.
E-pharmacies, Q-commerce platforms, online consultation platforms and even hospitals are digitising their process and focusing on supply chain management and logistics. The pandemic has brought out the need for integrating all the steps in the clinical pathway digitally. Advancements in automation and insight gathering and analysis are in place to increase efficiency and productivity.
Views expressed by Vishal Jain, Co Founder, Roadcast