The State of Pharma Tech in 2019 and Why You Need to Pay Attention

By | January 7, 2019

The State of Pharma Tech in 2019 and Why You Need to Pay Attention

Technology has become an essential part of our lives, whether we like it or not. Various types of technology have directly affected our daily activities; how we communicate and travel, and in this case, how we work.

It’s no secret that the pharmaceutical industry is evolving faster than most would have ever expected. The leading component of this evolution is the integration of innovative technology.

By 2022, the global pharma market is expected to reach about $1.12 trillion.

Entering 2019, the goal for pharma companies is to fully transition into the existing pharma 3.0 business model, which is all about being patient-centric rather than focusing on just selling the drugs.

This transition to pharma 3.0 is essential to not only keep up with their competitors but also begin preparation for the next business model, which is pharma 4.0.

Yes, pharma 4.0!


Don’t worry, we have the answers to all your questions!

Pharma 4.0 is the next evolution of putting patients first in the industry. It focuses on incorporating real-time monitoring, stimulation and complete control of the various operations pharma companies have in place (such as sales, marketing, and manufacturing).

While pharma 3.0 is more of a business model that focuses on engaging with specific patients more efficiently and being more patient-centric, pharma 4.0 works to create a more efficient environment for the operations that happen leading up to engaging with the patient.

The ultimate goal of pharma 4.0 is to enable processes to automatically adjust based on the data received. 

For example, machines and equipment within a pharma 4.0 company will be equipped with sensors that are:

  • Continuously monitoring every aspect of an operation.
  • Self-aware components.
  • Able to report on their own and can indicate when something is likely to fail.

A primary goal for pharma 4.0 is to ensure that pharmaceutical production is safer and more efficient throughout all processes.

So, what does this have to do with the state of pharma tech in 2019?

We are going to go over 4 different types of technology that exist within the pharma industry that will elevate pharma companies closer to pharma 4.0.

These types of technology will enhance the operations of pharma companies, promote market reach, and stimulate growth throughout 2019.

1. Digital Communication

2. Mobile Devices in the Field

3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

4. Internet of Things (IoT)

Calm doctor touching a medical interface in the hospital

4 Different Types of Pharma Tech To Pay Attention to in 2019

1. Digital Communication 

In the past, healthcare providers would be open to meeting with pharma sales reps to discuss new products that could add value and help their patients.

Now, with the new technology HCPs can simply educate themselves via the internet.

So, what does this mean for pharma sales reps?

This means that pharma sales reps need to find a new way to reach and engage with these HCPs to pitch their drug or product to them. That’s where digital communication comes in.

With this technology, HCPs can receive medical updates and product information without taking time out of their very busy day to meet with a pharma sales reps in person.

This is critical for pharma sales reps because the more technology develops and takes over the pharma industry, the more the traditional way of selling in pharma shifts to a digital way.

Serious medical team using a laptop in a bright office-1

What’s in store for Digital Pharma Sales Rep Communication? 

There are many innovative solutions out there that can assist with easy access, control multiple channels, and communicate more efficiently.

Going forward, this will be the best way to engage as a pharma sales rep and will also result in HCPs being much more efficient when dealing with pharma sales reps.

Some examples of different types of solutions that can be implemented are:

  • Live videos.
  • Interactive detailing.
  • E-sampling.

Intelligent sales management outsourcing solutions can assist with this, making launching a new product or drug much more efficient and effective while keeping up with your competitors and catching the eye of HCPs.

Medicine doctor hand working with modern computer interface as medical concept

2. Mobile Devices in the Field 

While smartphones and tablets are not new technology, they hold a special significance in the pharma industry. However, for some, the idea for smartphones in the workplace is frowned upon as a hindrance to productivity.

Today, that philosophy does not work with pharma sales reps in the field.

Instead of being a distraction, mobile devices can be used throughout the day by pharma sales teams to help reps and managers get work done more efficiently while achieving better results.

By using their devices in the field equipped with certain Pharma Sales Operations solutions, pharma sales reps and their managers can do an abundance of work very quickly and easily from anywhere.

The fact of the matter is, technology makes everything faster and leaves less room for error. As such, the sales operations of a pharma company must be able to keep up with the fast moving parts within the industry.

Smartphone with finance and market icons and symbols concept

How will Mobile Devices impact pharma in 2019?

Certain software and solutions can be implemented that allows pharma sales reps and managers to be extremely productive with their smartphones while in the field.

When in the field, pharma sales reps are busy and things are constantly changing. Sometimes details need to be communicated with managers immediately to maintain a consistent flow, but that can often be difficult without maximum connectivity.

With an integrated pharma sales operations platform, reps can use their smartphone to be in constant contact with their managers and the rest of their sales team with a simple interface and pre-built templates.

Exchanging data over mobile devices while sales reps are in the field can also be done with this technology when equipped with the right solution.

Sales teams need to make sure that they are a step ahead and the simple things such as communicating with their managers, exchanging data and information, and being notified about territory assignments can all be done in an instant via their smartphone or mobile device.

Here are some more key areas that mobile devices in the field can impact:

  • Information and Time Management.
  • Communications and Consulting.
  • Reference and Information Gathering.
  • Medical Education and Training.

So, when you see pharma sales reps with their head buried in their phone or tablet while in the field don’t be worried, they are doing more work than you can imagine!

Closeup portrait, young smiling confident female doctor, healthcare professional talking on phone, giving consultation isolated background hospital park. Patient visit health care. Positive emotions

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

As you might have heard, artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology that has taken many industries by storm and has generated great results, especially in the pharma industry.

AI is part of a very important family of technology that also includes Machine Learning (ML) and Big Data. All of which have greatly impacted the pharma industry and been a major part of the transformation into pharma 3.0.

“Success relies on developing partnerships which harness tech while providing trust-based, patient-centric care; and balances person-to-person engagement with the efficiencies provided by tech.” – Sara Siegel, Healthcare Strategy and Consulting

Young nurse standing and pressing modern medical type of buttons-1

What can AI and ML do for your pharma company in the future?

AI and ML have hundreds of beneficial applications within the pharma industry, and some of them can even be achieved with minimal human interaction.

Here are a few ways that ML can be beneficial with very little human interaction:

  • Cost saving.
  • Tracking patients journey.
  • Optimizing machine functions.

Yet, it is important to know that this technology won’t be nearly as effective if there isn’t human intuition guiding the way. For example, chatbots cannot offer a personalized or human response without human input to tell those bots how to respond to specific criteria.

However, there are things that AI can do that would be far too complex for humans to do quickly or efficiently. These calculations can assist your pharma company in all sorts of ways; like simplifying how drugs or products are made during the manufacturing process.

In order to get these calculations done automatically, a human element needs to be implemented to set the algorithm in motion.

Artificial Intelligence implemented into various elements of a pharma company enables all of your operations to work more efficiently, effectively, and results in team members being able to focus on other tasks.

Once the strategic thinking and mindset of humans are incorporated, AI and ML can help elevate pharma companies to a more pharma 3.0 atmosphere and beyond.

AI and ML.

4. Internet of Things (IoT)

According to Aruba Networks, by 2019, 87 percent of healthcare organizations will have implemented IoT.

In this digital world we live in, staying connected is key. IoT (Internet of Things) has already been making its mark in the pharma industry, and some can say it’s just getting started.

IoT technology revolves around the interconnection of physical devices equipped with electronics and sensors that facilitate the exchange data in real-time.

The transformation to a more patient-centric model is a major reason why pharma companies and manufacturers began experimenting with IoT technology. Being patient-centric means a ton of data has to be stored and secured in a safe place specifically for individual patients.

This changes how drug and product manufacturing is handled as well as how pharma sales reps are approaching HCPs.

Businessman and businesswoman touching icon of digital screen-1

How is IoT being used and how will it affect the future of the industry? 

“To me, one of the most intriguing elements of edge computing will be how it will leverage the secure sharing of Internet of Things data between devices.” – Jacob Shepherd, Product Development. 

IoT can be used to track and streamline various operations across your entire organization, such as the manufacturing of drugs, monitoring, distribution, and control in-transit.

Capturing the real-time data using IoT devices enables the generation of high-quality results while minimizing the chance of errors.

Cloud technology, on the other hand, is very useful for storing and securing data that is easily accessible to anyone with access.

IoT technology takes data sharing a step further and may just be the leading component that will lead pharma companies to pharma 4.0 down the line.

Going into 2019 and beyond, IoT technology has the ability to allow pharma companies to do the following:

  • Increase workforce productivity.
  • Reduce spending.
  • Create new business models (such as pharma 4.0).
  • Enhance collaboration with patients and colleagues.

Members of a medical team looking at the camera while working on a laptop

If the idea of pharma 4.0 is overwhelming because your pharma company hasn’t yet transformed completely into pharma 3.0 or maybe just started operating inside it, don’t worry!

Going forward, these four different types of technology will be leading forces to drive your company, and the pharma industry, to pharma 4.0.

As more technological innovations are created and embedded into various industries, pharma will have to keep up.

In the past, pharma has been playing catch-up when it comes to embedding technology into their operations.

Now that patients are taking it upon themselves to be more actively engaged with their own healthcare and being prepared with questions, the pressure is now on to provide quick, accurate, and personalized information.

With the help of smart technology integrations, pharma companies are now finding themselves right back in the mix with their competitors and more importantly, keeping their patients satisfied. There’s a lot to look forward to when it comes to the state of pharma tech in 2019 and beyond!

In this article we went over the following:

  • What pharma 4.0 is.
  • 4 different types of technology that you need to pay attention to going into 2019:
  • 1. Digital Communication 
  • 2. Mobile Devices in the Field
  • 3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • 4. Internet of Things (IoT)
  • How the four types of technology above can transition pharma companies into pharma 4.0 and beyond.

If you have any questions or just want to drop by and say “hello,” please do so in the comment section below! If you would like to learn more about the services we offer which are solutions for all of the different technologies above, contact us here for a free chat!

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