Friday, September 14, 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI): How Specialty Pharmacies Are Making Medication Package Management More Predictable, Scalable, and Efficient

Today’s guest post comes from Scott Knight, Founder and President at ParcelShield.

Scott explains how artificial intelligence is being used to improve medication package management in specialty pharmacy. It’s an intriguing look at the application of next-generation technologies that can benefit patients.

To learn more about AI in specialty pharmacy, download ParcelShield’s free white paper Man Vs. Machine: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Makes Specialty Parcel Management More Predictable, Scalable, and Efficient.

Read on for Scott’s insights.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): How Specialty Pharmacies Are Making Medication Package Management More Predictable, Scalable, and Efficient
By Scott Knight, Founder and President, ParcelShield

The last mile of the specialty pharmacy supply chain is typically the most costly, problematic, and inefficient. If you’re a specialty pharmacy leader, you’ve likely felt the pain of weather complications and delivery roadblocks interfering with expensive temperature sensitive medication shipments. Distressed or lost specialty medication shipments could mean delays in getting patients started on therapy, interruptions to patients’ therapy, and millions of dollars in product and revenue losses.

Artificial intelligence (AI), combined with machine learning and predictive analytics, is fast becoming the go-to solution to which specialty pharmacies are turning for more predictable, scalable, and efficient package management.

BIG PROBLEMS DON’T ALWAYS MAKE THE NEWS

When we think about medication deliverability problems, disasters such as hurricanes, tropical storms, and cyclones may come to mind. But disasters and other delivery obstacles aren’t reserved for hurricane season headlines. Everyday issues such as a single overturned carrier trailer in Florida or a grounded carrier plane in Tennessee could create a calamity for your business.

A REAL-LIFE SITUATION WHERE AI WAS USED TO SOLVE A FINAL MILE DELIVERY ISSUE

ParcelShield was tracking a carrier plane transporting 500 temperature sensitive specialty medication packages to a southeastern central sort hub. In the middle of the night, high winds prevented the plane from landing at its destination. The flight was rerouted.

Once the winds subsided, the plane was allowed to take off again and finally landed at the planned destination. However, by that time, the delay caused all of the packages to be at risk.

Using sophisticated AI and early detection capabilities, ParcelShield was able to identify the calamity, prepare a plan of action, and mitigate the impact of the delay by saving the high value, critical packages (while everyone else was fast asleep). Ultimately, millions of dollars worth of specialty medications were delivered safely to patients.

THE 99% ON-TIME CARRIER CLAIM

On the most uneventful day, major carriers handle millions of packages and claim a 99% on-time performance rate. However, there is a caveat to that claim. Carriers do not count late deliveries in their performance rates for circumstances out of their control (i.e. storms, disasters, and more commonly, a patient who isn’t home to receive their medication). With this in mind, we estimate that between 4-5% of carrier packages (or 1 in 26 specialty medication packages) are received after the expected delivery date. Many of these late deliveries are due to avoidable issues.

TRANSFORM ‘HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE’ SITUATIONS INTO EFFICIENT BUSINESS AND PACKAGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

It isn’t humanly possible for a person or pharmacy team to monitor and manage hundreds or thousands of medication deliveries from points A through Z, daily; predict, identify, and evaluate the risks for delivery problems (down to the individual package); and manage patient situations affordably and efficiently.

Leading specialty pharmacies are turning to AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics to automate their package management processes, optimize operational tasks that require human intelligence, and streamline improbable or mundane tasks with machines.

IDENTIFY PROBLEMS BEFORE THEY HAPPEN

Using millions of data points from carrier networks, airlines and weather services, supported by machine learning algorithms, AI identifies potential medication delivery problems, predicts problem severity (if a delivery will be delayed or prevented), estimates geographical risk factors, and determines the probability of successful or delayed medications. Further, AI enables pharmacies to validate carrier service probability (the likelihood of an on-time delivery), identify package routes and alternate routes, and spot and respond to route conditions and risks in real-time.

AI works with pharmacy staff to drive more on-time medication deliveries and solve expensive medication losses and recoveries, often before they happen.

KNOWING PACKAGE STATUS ENHANCES DECISION-MAKING AND PATIENT COMMUNICATIONS

Just as important as the probability of successful deliveries and routes is a pharmacy’s ability to identify the real-time status of in-transit specialty medication packages and delay information (down to the carrier truck location, temperature and status, and the early detection of carrier airline delays). AI makes this possible and enables pharmacy staff to make informed decisions on medication viability, take control of reshipments and package rescues, and keep patients informed about their medications at all times.

OPTIMIZE AND SCALE WITH BUSINESS NEEDS

AI isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. Pharmacies today use it to automate their specialty medication package management using customized business rules and workflows (how they ship, when they ship, and what to do when delivery conditions go wrong). And because AI learns on its own, it can evolve to keep pharmacies optimized and efficient as their business needs change.

Every day, AI works alongside specialty pharmacies and their very human staff to achieve the ‘humanly impossible.’ Together, man plus machine converge to manage specialty medication delivery processes with more cost efficiencies and fewer problems than ever before, freeing up pharmacies to tackle other business challenges critical to long-term growth.

To learn more about the data-powered AI revolution in specialty pharmacy, download ParcelShield’s free white paper Man Vs. Machine: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Makes Specialty Parcel Management More Predictable, Scalable, and Efficient.


Sponsored guest posts are bylined articles that are screened by Drug Channels to ensure a topical relevance to our exclusive audience. These posts do not necessarily reflect our opinions and should not be considered endorsements.

To find out how you can publish a guest post on Drug Channels, please contact Paula Fein (paula@drugchannelsinstitute.com).


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