Pharmacy as a profession and business continues to face challenges, and how it contributes value to the overall healthcare industry will determine its ongoing success. A key component of that may turn out to be an effective use of technology, specifically artificial intelligence. Reflecting on the 25 years, the pharmacy has done a great job in addressing the growing demand for prescriptions, even when faced with pharmacist shortages, demands of the Affordable Care Act, growing operating costs, and lower reimbursements. The pharmacy has also done a great job of leveraging enabling technology automation to improve workflow efficiency and lower operating costs while promoting safety, accuracy, and efficiency in every pharmacy setting.
The recent World Medical Innovation Forum which happened in Boston, Massachusetts, focused on artificial intelligence in healthcare. Artificial intelligence has been a hot topic lately, especially related to how it can help streamline workflow, its adoption into electronic systems to parse data and hand-wringing over how it might upend different professions. Likewise, in a web post by The Pharma Letter, they shared that the artificial intelligence shows a very promising potential that could have to give the pharmaceutical industry a huge benefit by improving the research and development productivity that will affect the effectivity of the supply chain management and the deployment of the medicines.
There have been several expert systems developed in medicine to assist physicians with medical diagnosis. Recently, several programs focusing on drug therapy have been described. They provide guidance on drug interactions, drug therapy monitoring, and drug formulary selection and there are also many aspects of pharmacy that artificial intelligence can have an impact on and the reader is challenged to consider these possibilities because there might be a time where artificial intelligence would bring the technological advancements closer to the pharmaceutical industry.
The artificial intelligence could be a real help in analyzing data and presenting results that would support decision making, saving human effort, time, and money. In 2011, IBM estimated that the entire healthcare domain had approximately 161 billion GB of data and using this amount of data could be a game-changing opportunity in improving care and curb the current trend of unsustainable healthcare spend.
AI, a game changer in the pharmaceutical industry
According to a web post by Carter Murray, the pharmaceutical industry has been eyeing the benefits that the artificial intelligence could give to them. After finding out the impact of artificial intelligence in other industries, pharma is slowly embracing the changes made by technological innovations through the use of artificial intelligence. The current technology and its algorithms enable and complement human interaction with patients today. In our current disruptive platforms for technology, administrative, and clinical healthcare functions are not well coordinated, and in many cases, are handled manually with some degree of success.
Moreover, in a recent article by EPM Magazine, they shared that huge pharmaceutical companies from the United Kingdom will work for the next two years to use artificial intelligence to find out how the artificial intelligence could be used in helping scientists in testing and coming up with new drugs that will be beneficial to many people across the globe. Funding to support artificial intelligence in drug discovery takes a significant step forward today as Optibrium, Intellegens and Medicines Discovery Catapult secure a grant from Innovate UK to fund a 1 million pound project.
The program will see Optibrium, which creates software to improve the efficiency and productivity of drug discovery, and Intellegens, a spin-out from the University of Cambridge which focused on a specific form of AI called ‘deep learning’, work with Medicines Discovery Catapult over the next two years. The aim is to harness the power of artificial intelligence to learn from complex data and guide scientists in the design and testing of potential new drugs. Drug discovery generates a huge quantity of complex biological, chemical, clinical, and safety information that needs to be collected, analyzed and presented in a way that it can be best used to make evidence-based decisions.
In the physician area, artificial intelligence from technology companies like Microsoft is breaking into the healthcare industry by assisting doctors in finding the right treatments among the many options for cancer. Capturing data from different databases relating to the condition, artificial intelligence is helping physicians in identifying and choosing the right drugs for the right patients. Meanwhile, AI is working with researchers in the pharmaceutical industry in supporting the decision-making processes for existing drugs and expanded treatments for other conditions, as well as expediting the clinical trials process by finding the right patients from a number of data sources. Pharma is even working to predict with certain accuracy when and where epidemic outbreaks might occur, using artificial intelligence learning based on a history of previous outbreaks and other media sources.
The next generation in pharmacy technology is the introduction of a technology-based information expert system to identify timely drug-related problems based on patient data captured from the pharmacy system and other external data systems. Consistent with workflow robotics, this would leave less of the work on the pharmacist to shoulder the responsibility of identifying serious drug-related problems.