How the cloud can transform pharma

Here’s a look at how the cloud is changing the industry and top use cases for pharmaceutical companies.
By Nathan Eddy
08:53 AM
Share
Cloud pharma

The scalability and agility of the cloud can help pharmaceutical companies of all sizes streamline clinical research and reduce costs, while simultaneously making it possible to grow as business needs expand.

Cloud technology can also be the ideal solution for research and development (R&D), helping pharmaceutical companies process the huge amounts of data they deal with as a part of R&D, and replacing the information silos that have been formed as a result of legacy infrastructure.

While it’s still early, the advantages are becoming clear and a number of promising use cases are emerging.

It’s about the data

“The cloud has the changed the universe, because it provides organizations a lot of flexibility with how they control, store and secure confidential information like what you’d see in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute.

Ponemon explained that for many organizations, having access to platform as a service (PAAS) and infrastructure as a service (IAAS) gives them a lot of flexibility in how they can manage information as well.

The data must be wrangled and managed, Ponemon added, and that’s an inherently complex process that requires processing and analysis conducted with a specific goal in mind.

For greatest effectiveness, data must move — among patients, hospitals, electronic health records, clinics, devices, and countless other channels in the modern health care ecosystem.

Cloud use cases for pharma

Mike Townsend IDC research manager for life sciences commercial strategies, explained cloud computing is almost like the infrastructure needed for true digital transformation.

“There are many use cases in both the clinical and discovery side, as well as in the discovery side, in which different types of data and different sources of data need to access each other in real time,” he said. “On the discovery side and the clinical trials side, these companies are generating huge amount of data that needs to be summarized and archived.”

On the commercial area — say for sales and marketing software — pharmaceutical companies need to access customer data for healthcare providers in order to look at affiliations or prescribing history (which may be in another database).

“With cloud computing you’re able to access and leverage data in the cloud, and use other cloud tools like analytics and AI to focus on what’s the next action a field sales rep should take, for example, based on the subject’s prescribing history,” Townsend said.

The power to scale up quickly

Townsend said the beauty of cloud based system is its completely painless to scale it up when you need more data, and you can also scale it back down when you need less, when a big project is over.

“That’s a big advantage,” Townsend noted. “Cloud computing offers an opportunity to the pharmaceutical community to innovate quicker, manage change faster and deliver new medicines to the market.” 

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.

Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com

Twitter: @dropdeaded209 

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.