Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

TraceLink puts patients first in pharmaceutical supply chain

Steve Rogerson
October 18, 2019
Massachusetts-based track-and-trace software as a service company TraceLink has announced a digital network platform that enables patient-centric design across the end-to-end life sciences value chain.
The company hopes this will transform the global pharmaceutical supply chain and let users rapidly design and deploy network orchestration and analytics applications,
The launch was announced at the company’s FutureLink event in Nashville this month.
Built on top of the firm’s digital supply network, and designed for the rapid development of applications using its multi-enterprise collaboration and data sharing capabilities, the platform could drive innovation and enable the creation of supply chain operating models centred around the patient, empowering network members to work together for the greater good.
Fuelled by its serialisation knowledge, the TraceLink network has grown to 276,000 members, with over six billion serial numbers commissioned to date. Today, the network is used to track serialised medicines as they move from production to the patient.
With the launch of this platform, TraceLink customers will have access to network orchestration and analytics applications that could unlock more value from their digitalised supply chains and provide the power to orchestrate patient outcomes in ways never before possible.
The platform will provide an environment for the development of network orchestration applications that let partners integrate and exchange transactional information inter-operably about common business processes through standardised, secure and permissioned interfaces, thereby creating digital business process ecosystems that have not existed before.
The network data generated from these network orchestration applications will feed into analytics models that apply machine learning, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to create analytics applications that can help solve complex supply chain and healthcare problems.
"With the coming proliferation of specialty drugs and personalised medicine, the pharmaceutical supply chain will need a dramatic transformation, moving from a focus on supply to a focus on the needs of the patient," said Shabbir Dahod, president and CEO of TraceLink. "With the digital network platform, TraceLink provides our customers with the means to create new digital operating models that will meet the needs of tomorrow's pharmaceutical industry. By rapidly on-boarding supply chain partners into new network ecosystems, sharing real-time information and orchestrating multi-enterprise business processes, our customers can ensure that every patient gets the treatment they need when they need it."
Throughout 2020, TraceLink plans to release a series of applications on the platform, to enable supply network integration, end-to-end business process orchestration and real-time analytics, including:

  • Serialisation process intelligence: This application will provide users with automated reporting and end-to-end visibility into their global serialisation processes. Organisations can combine data from multiple sources into one source of the truth and analyse data to demonstrate compliance with worldwide track and trace regulations, investigate exceptions quickly, and keep products moving through the supply chain, prevent product shortages and get to a business as usual state.
  • Experience design environment: This application enables role-based user experiences to be personalised to the unique requirements of an individual or job function. Using it, application access can be streamlined so every employee has an intuitive and productive user experience.
  • Smart supply manager: This application will source, centralise and distribute real-time, product condition information relative to unique, serialised medications sourced from a network of connected IoT devices and sensors.
  • Smart product excursion tracking: This application will let pharmaceutical companies collect edge information associated with real-time product conditions including temperature and environmental excursions as well as the patient context associated with the consumption of specialty medicines back through distribution to the original source of manufacturing to ensure the integrity and safety of specialty medicines as they move through the supply chain.
  • Digital recalls: This application empowers users with a streamlined platform for real-time updates on product recalls and coordination across the supply chain. This will allow for a more agile and patient-focused approach to product recall issues, thereby increasing product safety, staff efficiency and brand protection.
  • Development environment: This low code application development environment will enable developers to create highly scalable apps rapidly to connect supply chain processes across the multi-enterprise TraceLink network. TraceLink, its customers and partners will be able to develop the apps that will power the digital supply chain to enable patient centric orchestration.
"Organisations within the pharmaceutical industry – as with essentially every other industry – are undergoing a digital transformation in their supply chain," said Simon Ellis, programme vice president for IDC research. “Businesses recognise that to keep up, they must adopt modern digital technologies that will enable this transformation. However, the pharmaceutical industry has more constraints than others, with complicated and evolving regulations to ensure patient safety. This leaves many companies wondering how to effectively introduce the necessary technologies to progress transformation efforts while still complying with the strict regulatory requirements they face on an on-going basis.
"TraceLink's existing extensive serialisation and track and trace network leverages all the data currently in and flowing though the network and provides the foundation for data-driven decision making in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Now, with the availability of TraceLink's digital network platform, users will have access to self-service technology codifying partner connectivity and visibility across the end-to-end healthcare system. The platform will allow traditional business processes to yield higher-level insights to improve patient outcomes and potentially save lives."