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Maximizing RFID Initiatives in the Pharmaceutical Industry November 17th, 2021

Maximizing RFID Initiatives in the Pharmaceutical Industry

RFID technology is familiar to many of your pharma clients, but they may not realize it can be a part of solutions to several other challenges they face.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has the potential to solve numerous challenges in the pharmaceutical industry. However, your clients need to do more than apply tags and deploy readers to reap the maximum benefits from RFID. Pharma RFID solutions must be purposefully designed for the organization's specific use case – and your expertise as a value-added reseller (VAR) serving the healthcare industry will help your clients see the most significant value and ROI.

How to Create a Pharma RFID Success Story

Several factors go into deploying an RFID solution that delivers optimal performance. First, start with a state-of-the-art solution. With so much riding on a pharma RFID solution's reliability to help pharmaceutical companies ensure drugs are safe and delivered to the right patients, your clients need to deploy technology that's expertly engineered. Next, evaluate the RFID solutions in your portfolio and compare them to other options to ensure that your pharmaceutical company clients utilize the best possible technology. New call-to-action

Also, once you have vetted and chosen optimal RFID solutions, the next step is designing a solution specifically for your client's operation. For example, a distributor with a goal of better inventory management and counterfeit drug identification may need fixed readers and RFID antennas that enable data collection during receiving. On the other hand, if your client is a hospital pharmacy that must improve accuracy and productivity, an RFID label printer and handheld readers may be the best way to meet its needs.

In addition, consider whether your client will benefit from active RFID or passive RFID. Unlike passive RFID, active RFID tags contain embedded energy sources, often a battery or power cell, that enable the tag to emit data and monitor physical conditions such as temperature or humidity. This capability is especially vital for cold chain shipments, ensuring that medication is safe and effective when it reaches the patient. However, active RFID may be overkill for some applications for which a passive tag and RFID reader will deliver the necessary results but require a lower IT investment.

Managing Pharma RFID Data

Regardless of the RFID solution you determine is the right choice for automating tasks, saving time and improving accuracy, they all will face a common challenge: data management. A pharmaceutical company that used barcode technology in the past will find that RFID solutions can store and communicate much more data than their legacy solutions.

The total solution you provide must include software that receives and organizes the larger volumes of data that an RFID solution generates so that it can be shared with the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) or pharmacy management system. When you conduct a discovery session to learn your client's goals for the solution, you may also determine that integration with an intelligent analytics solution can provide valuable insights to stakeholders across the pharma company's organization. It's also essential that you discuss data security and a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery strategy so that your client can ensure that data is always protected and accessible.

Challenges You Can Help Pharmaceutical Companies Solve Today

Although RFID solutions can benefit pharma companies at any time, RFID can be the answers they're looking for to solve current challenges, such as:

  • Vaccine and medication distribution
    RFID has emerged as a key to successful COVID-19 vaccine distribution. It automates collecting data about each vaccine dose – no line of sight is required, and an entire shipment can be scanned at once. Additionally, vaccines can be scanned as they move throughout the supply chain, from the manufacturer to, ultimately, the patient, to automate recordkeeping.
  • Fighting back against counterfeit drugs
    Counterfeit drugs threaten health and safety around the world. RFID technology enables companies to authenticate shipments, checking electronic product codes (EPCs) against their databases to see information about a shipment. If it doesn't match the records from the manufacturer, the products could be counterfeit. RFID tracking can also give companies the ability to locate cartons or pallets, helping to keep tighter control over shipments and ensure they aren't stolen.
  • Regulatory compliance
    The U.S. Congress enacted the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in 2013, which requires an electronic, interoperable system that can track and trace prescription drugs through packaging and cases of products.

    RFID enables companies to embed required information into RFID tags, automate data collection and scan many drugs at once for greater efficiency.

What's Your Clients' Use Case?

Make it a priority to start discussions with your clients about pharma RFID solutions. Even if they currently use RFID technology in one area of their operation, you may be able to shed light on other ways the technology can provide value to their organizations. For example, it can automate processes, decrease the demand for staff during a labor shortage, streamline workflows, and, most importantly, improve patient safety.

Contact BlueStar today to learn more about pharma RFID solutions available to you and your clients.




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