Smart Health and Drug Supply Chain Traceability
Blog 02/11/2021

Smart Health and Drug Supply Chain Traceability

Smart Health, Digital Health and Drug Supply Chain Traceability are now realities thanks to IoT Technology. Discover Now!


Smart Health and Drug Supply Chain Traceability

Drug traceability and the fight against falsification in the healthcare sector are sensitive topics, nowadays increasingly a point of discussion also thanks to the innovative contribution offered by new technologies in this field.

Thanks to leading-edge technology, healthcare has now become digitalised and smart, making “futuristic” scenarios a reality, for example the possibility to identify the position of medical devices, but also of people, with utmost precision at any time. All this is possible thanks to cutting-edge technology such as real time localisation systems (RTLS) and IoT technologies.

Smart Health, Digital Health and Drug Supply Chain Traceability are now a reality.

Smart Health and Drug Supply Chain Traceability

Smart Health, what is it?

Smart Health doesn’t simply mean digitalising the healthcare sector, it means making possible that which up until yesterday was only the future: having an interconnected healthcare system in which useful data can be exchanged and processed in real time.

This phenomenon is one of the many applications of IoT and “big datatechnologies, in which enormous quantities of data are processed and managed at a rate otherwise unthinkable using traditional technologies.

Healthcare too has therefore been digitalised thanks to IoT, artificial intelligence and wearable technologies. Suffice it to think, for example, of RTLS systems, technologies comprised of an electronic sensor (a tag or badge) to which a unique identifier is associated. A practical application of this innovative technology in the healthcare sector may be for example, exploiting a network of readers positioned in various areas of the hospital, making it possible to map and follow the movements of notebooks, tablets, diagnostic machines and people in real time.    

All this translates into the improved safety and efficiency of the healthcare facility.

IoT and Drug Supply Chain Traceability

IoT Technology, in addition to making healthcare “smart”, has also made drugs “speak”. 

Being able to track the drug within the supply chain at any time, means, for example, automating the distribution and restocking of medicines in hospitals.

Thanks to IoT, hospital wards are able to order medicines to be administered to patients with utmost precision, in the exact quantities needed.

All this is now possible also thanks to radio frequency unique identification technologies, which have made complete traceability in the drug supply chain a reality.

Complete traceability of individual drugs from their manufacture through to their administration to the patient, covering all steps of the supply chain thanks to the registration and management of the associated information.

IoT and Drug Supply Chain Traceability

Fight against Counterfeit Drugs

IoT and artificial intelligence technologies are efficient tools used to track drugs within the supply chain. Innovative tools to automate and manage processes from manufacture through to administration to the patient, but that’s not all. They are also a valid ally in the fight against counterfeit drugs.

The problem of counterfeit drug production is a modern scourge on public health.

To hinder the marketing of counterfeit drugs, many countries have enacted legislative provisions for the purpose of tracking the flow of drugs along the entire pharmaceutical-healthcare supply chain

In Italy, for example, the anti-counterfeiting stamp, developed by the State Mint Printing Institute, was introduced as a measure for drug traceability.

The anti-counterfeiting stamp is a drug tracking system making it possible to offer citizens the assurance of an original drug.

In 2019, another tool was introduced to combat counterfeit drugs, with the establishment of the European Medicines Verification System.

A genuine tracking system, active in the 28 EU member countries in addition to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

It provides efficient traceability based on the application of a unique two-dimensional bar code identifier (Datamatrix 2D). 

RFID and IoT Technology for Pharmacological Safety

The pharmaceutical sector can therefore rely on new technologies to offer patients and healthcare workers a guarantee that they are receiving original drugs, administered at the right time, with timely restocking.

Through RFID technology, for example, the drugs can be stored in containers identified by a tag. The tag records all information useful for tracking within the supply chain, thus allowing the containers to be properly managed and moved. For example, the containers can be opened and filled based on the data communicated by the tag itself. 

Kits containing the medicines allocated to each single patient can be automatically assembled, tracking every movement until they reach the bed of the hospitalised patient.

All this means Smart Health.