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Maximizing RFID Initiatives in the Pharmaceutical Industry

by Samantha Kalany

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

It’s evident that the Pharmaceutical world has experienced quite a whirlwind last year and still to this day. The massive virus that has struck throughout the globe can’t be healed quickly with antibiotic prescription, and if that were the case, pharmacists would be pulling their hair out by now. COVID-19 patients have been informed that they can relieve some of their symptoms through the usage of over-the-counter Tylenol dosages and other simple remedies that can purchased from any drug store. Pharmacists have been working overtime to administer COVID-19 PCR Lab Tests, Anti-body Blood Tests, and even forms of rapid testing to put patients’ minds at ease by delivering accurate results.

With the vaccination rolling down the line, it’s likely these employees will be delivering the vaccine as well in the chronologically tiered order. pharmaceuticalWith such delicate materials being handled, received, and shipped out on a daily basis, it’s important that these healthcare officials and patients can trust that these vials of the vaccine and specimen swabs haven’t been tampered with or altered in any awful manner. That’s where the power of intelligent packaging/labeling can come into the picture to provide some aid. According to Walgreen’s Vice President of Pharmacy Operations, Rina Shah, Walgreens’ technology and data infrastructure will be “critical” in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines. “It’s especially critical for those who require two doses and require tracking and patient follow-up. We already support and report state registry data and are rapidly updating our IT system to meet any additional reporting requirements,” voiced Shah.

We’ve been working alongside Zebra, for our COVID-19 Solutions Initiative and a specific solution comes to mind in this scenario. Zebra’s Patient & Lab Sample Labeling Barcode Duplicator Solution allows healthcare professionals to quickly and easily scan and print additional labels for a variety of Healthcare applications, so in this instance, correctly labeling outgoing and incoming COVID-19 tests. This solution can ensure that blood vials and specimens are tracked accurately and can provide some peace of mind with its efficient workflow, as well. If you’re interested in learning more about this offering, be sure to contact our Zebra Business Development Representative, Matt Jordan to start the discussion today.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 supports the notion of health systems venturing towards complying with technology-based care functions, and with the increasing access to data and improved computing efforts, healthcare professionals can better address delivering care to their patients. Digital health applications have been such a disruptive approach to make itself known in next to every facility within the industry, itself. Such solutions are designed to keep in mind the various principles and goals of patient engagement. The pharmaceutical industry, playing a huge role in the administering of prescription medications to patients is well versed in this act, as it works to assist in providing care through this operational flow, especially in the virtual world that we all happen to be living in. Ensuring that such prescriptions are delivered effectively and efficiently is a top priority of all working within the field.

 Behind the Drug Counter

There is a lot that happens behind your average pharmacy counter including, filling/finishing off scripts, loading and washing stations, check-weighing dosages, stoppering, crimping, labeling, and of course any additional packaging to protect the script. From a means of securing the product, many pharmaceutical companies encourage the usage of intelligent packaging labels and RFID to seal the deal and ensure safety is grasped during such processes. It’s extremely important that packages provide concerning ingredients and the likely results of mixing different medications. pharmaceuticalThanks to intelligent packaging, it’s possible to create labels informing pharmacists about the product’s temperature during the shipping process and storage so that they can determine whether the drug is safe to ingest or not.

It’s common, as well, that some packages are shipped and identified with NFC tags on the outside of the prescription bottle, and this is done through a means to remind patients to regularly take their medicine. The user would only need to san their mobile device across the tag on the package and all of the necessary medication information will be read out loud. The pharmaceutical industries often arrive at several unique challenges to overcome child resistant and senior friendly packaging, anti-counterfeit, on-go, and convenience-based packaging that can be avoided with the help of NFC tags and other RFID-immersive sensors.

It’s all on the Bottle

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology helps the pharmaceutical industry to locate applications beyond just serialization and anti-counterfeiting protections to better improve the supply chain. This benefits everyone involved, doctors, patients, pharmacists, and especially disabled patients who require additional dependence when it comes to taking regularly prescribed medications. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can unlock the power of machine learning and big data analytics to enable the effectiveness of monitoring and tracing drugs as they roll down the line, through every step in the process, and it starts with an adhesive label.pharmaceutical

In its own clinical trials, smart packaging with the help of RFID and wearable devices would work to create a means for greater secure interactions between patients and their doctors by utilizing real-time data to monitor compliance, identify side effects quicker, and improve overall health outcomes for everyone involved. This goal to better perfect the condition of medicine packaging supports and improvs reject management and line clearance, which can reduce the risk of any mix-ups taking place. In this case, lyophilization processes and container-focused recalls can be better focused in on. There’s a lot to it and in the long run, it’s likely we’ll begin to see more bottles and packages with RFID application implemented within their being, especially when it comes to the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine and the distribution of those vials and syringes.

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