Category: Thoughts

remote patient monitoring

Remote Patient Monitoring: The New Tool for Enhancing Healthcare Systems

Taking healthcare services to the masses in the most cost-effective manner is the prime focus of governments across the globe. Stakeholders in the healthcare system have realized that the traditional healthcare models fail to provide effective medical services. It is in this scenario that technology is seen as a possible option to improve the overall functioning of the medicare systems. Telehealth, remote patient monitoring (RPM), and mHealth are some of the examples of how technology can provide value-based medical care.

Remote patient monitoring: Filling the distance between patients and doctors

Through RPMs, the health related data of patients in one location is digitally transmitted to health care providers in a different location.  the patient need not travel all the way to a clinic to consult the doctor. Rather from the comfort of his home he can interact with the healthcare professional and get timely help. The system is extremely beneficial for those who are physically handicapped or cannot travel alone due to old age and other disabilities.

By leveraging cloud and big data, RPM systems make it easier for the healthcare providers to access all the medical details of a patient. Right from the management of diabetes and hypertension, to helping cardiac and asthma patients, RPM has touched all the major areas of the healthcare industry. The technology also plays a vital role in bringing down the cases of long hospital stays and cuts down the cost of clinical trials as well.

From the point of view of hospitals and clinics, medical professionals can now dedicate more time on patients who need very close physical monitoring. Timely detection and quick intervention also reduce the hospitalization and readmission rates. Just by providing their services through the online medium, hospitals gain additional revenues. Most of all, the data collected for RPM can be used in clinical trials for new drug discovery.

Infiniti’s take on remote patient monitoring

Our market intelligence shows that in spite of several advantages, there are some major challenges which are hindering the adoption of RPM throughout the globe. Though at present its quite in demand in the US, the initial investment in this technology is quite massive. Also, regulations like HIPAA, make it rather difficult to access information which falls into the category of protected health information. At the same time, there is no denying the fact that RPM is the future of the healthcare industry. By bringing medical help right into the homes of the patients, this technological innovation has emerged as a powerful tool in the healthcare industry.

ETFs and Medical Devices

Exchange Traded Funds and the Growing Market of Medical Devices

Investopedia defines exchange traded funds (ETF) as a marketable security which tracks bonds, commodities, or a basket of assets like an indexed fund. In layman’s language, ETF is a fund which owns assets like stocks, bonds, and gold bars, and divides their ownership into shares. The shareholders in ETFs, therefore, have only indirect ownership of the assets. Also, though a lot similar to the mutual funds, ETFs have lower fees and higher liquidity when compared to the mutual funds.

Medical devices ETFs

The medical sector is the latest industry to open up to ETFs. Medical devices ETFs involves investment in the stocks of those companies which are involved in manufacturing and distribution of medical devices. The main focus of ETF is to encourage manufacturers of medical devices to venture into technological innovations so as to come up with better quality medical products.

Just like the pharma industry, the medical devices companies too struggle with the high costs involved in long testing processes, R&D activities, as well as getting approval for their products. This is one major reason why many manufacturers prefer using the existing technologies rather than investing in R&D activities. Through ETFs, manufacturers who do not fall under the category of public companies too can take the risk of investing in R&D projects.

As of now iShares US Medical Devices and SPDR S&P Health Care Equipment are the two medical ETFs available in the market. IShares was launched in 2006, and at present holds 50 big names from the medical devices industry. For instance, Medtronic PLC, Abbott Laboratories, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Danaher Corp are some of the major companies under iShares. SPDDR S&P Health Care Equipment, on the other hand, is much smaller than iShares – but has some major names like Globus Medical, Alere, and Varex Imaging under it.

Infiniti’s take on medical devices ETFs

ETFs, no doubt, are not as intimidating as mutual funds. By bringing a variety of companies under a single stock trading market, ETFs makes it easier for players in the medical devices industry to gain access to the stock market. It also allows investors to keep a track on the companies which are performing well in the share market, and thereby helps in boosting the credit inflow.

Pharma Industry

Top 5 ways in which Big Data is Transforming the Pharma Industry

The use of big data is no longer limited to transforming customer-facing functions such as sales and marketing alone. Manufacturers in the pharma industry, are constantly struggling with stagnant pipelines and low success rate in R&D activities – big data has emerged as a major game changer. Pharmaceuticals is one industry where immense amount of data is generated from sources like patients, retailers, and R&D processes. Big data enables easy understanding of the complex business processes, which in turn results in improved clinical trials, better risk management by pharma companies, increased patient safety, and enhanced collaboration between pharma companies.

Here are the top five ways in which big data can transform the overall functioning of the pharma industry:

1. Better sales and marketing

Until recently the sales and marketing was a grey area in the pharma industry. But by integrating the big data analytics to their strategy building, companies can easily focus on specific geographical areas to promote their medications. This way, pharma companies can come up with extremely targeted marketing and sales goals, thereby saving both on time and effort. Today, more than 30% of the marketing is done on the digital platform and this number will only increase in the next five years. The role of big data becomes even more critical in building marketing and sales plans.

2. Enhanced clinical trials

Clinical trials are an integral part of the pharma industry. The patients undergoing these trials must meet some prerequisites before undergoing the trials. Big data merges the databases from multiple sources, to filter out patients who do not meet the basic requirements. It also helps researchers monitor the patients on a real-time basis and predict the side-effects of drugs.

3. Predictive Analysis

Early detection of drug toxicity, along with improving the chances of patient survival are the two main goals of every pharma company. Predictive analysis provides a clear picture if a drug will suit a patient by taking details like genetics, lifestyle, and existing diseases into account. The algorithms used by predictive analysis considers all the minute details on the patient’s health and helps deliver personalized care to the patient.

4. Emergence of digital apps

It is imperative for the pharma industry to go digital and reach out to their end-users in a better manner. Digital apps are one of the best solutions for building relations with the target audience. The data collected on these apps is linked to various verticals of the pharma and healthcare industry which provides a first-hand data on patient compliance and instant feedback on patient’s health.

5. Cross-industry collaboration

The pharma industry, the healthcare sector, the insurance companies, as well as the data management firms – these are all inter-related. The need of the hour is to bring all these various industries on a common platform so that information sharing gets easier and pharma companies can seamlessly widen their database for future clinical trials.

oleochemicals

Can Oleochemicals Reduce America’s Dependence on Petrochemicals?

Oleochemicals is one of the best substitutes for petrochemicals, and is being widely applied in several industries across the globe. Derived from animal and plant fats, these chemicals and its derivatives have gained popularity due to its performance, functional efficiency, and sustainability. Especially in America, the growing demand for oleochemicals has has led industry experts to believe in a decade the country’s dependence on petrochemicals will reduce significantly.

Issues with petrochemicals?

Almost all the modern industries are heavily dependent on petroleum and allied products. Petrochemicals are extensively used for fuel production, plastic industry, medical sector, and fertilizers. Critics are against the use of petrochemicals because when released into the ground, air, and water it can have adverse effects on the environment and human life.

Petrochemicals tend to get absorbed easily into the skin, resulting in allergies, hormonal disorders, asthma, and congenital disabilities. One such petrochemical which is under the scanner is bisphenol A (BPA). Used in many plastic-based products, especially baby bottles, BPA can disturb the hormonal balance and affect the normal growth of the child.

Oleochemicals to the rescue

Though a lot like petrochemicals, oleochemicals are biodegradable, pollution free, and very low in toxic levels. It is already being used in the production of biodiesel, bioplastics, and lubricants. These chemicals are also being employed in the textiles, personal care, pharmaceuticals, and food & beverage industry.

The USA is one of the biggest producers as well as consumers of petrochemicals. Owing to its commitment to green energy and reducing carbon emissions, policymakers in the US are encouraging industries to adopt oleochemicals. Some of the major names in United States oleochemicals market like Emery Oleochemicals and Vantage Specialty Chemicals already have a significant presence across value chains

Changes in U.S. regulations and the ban on trans fats, along with tax incentives to encourage biofuel consumption are some of the major factors which have increased the demand of oleochemicals in the United States. According to industry experts, the personal care & cosmetics segment has emerged as a major user of these chemicals and its derivatives. The textile segment and consumer goods industry are other sectors which have replaced petrochemicals with oleochemicals. With more industries switching to oleochemicals, it is very clear that America’s dependency on petrochemicals is sure to reduce significantly.

UV Light

Leather Chemicals Industry: On the Path of Sustainable Development

With sustainability being the new ‘trend’ in industries across various business verticals, it is only natural for the leather chemicals industry to look for ways in which it can go eco-friendly. The extensive growth of this industry is mainly due to increasing demand from the automotive sector followed by the footwear industry. Perhaps this is why it becomes even more important for players in leather chemicals industry to align their growth goals with sustainability.

Leather chemicals and environmental issues

The rawhide undergoes several chemical processes to turn into a durable product. Tanning and dyeing chemicals, along with beam-house and finishing chemicals add resilience to leather products. However, these very chemicals also play a vital role in increasing the overall carbon footprint – which is why major companies in the leather chemicals industry are looking for environmental friendly substitutes.

Leather chemicals and sustainability: On the path of green leather making process

Prominent names in the industry like LANXESS, BASF, and Stahl Holdings are working towards attaining a future-oriented leather production system. Sustainability is the crux of every future growth plan. Keeping this fact in mind, manufacturers are adopting eco-friendly substitutes for the hazardous chemicals without compromising on the quality of their products.

For instance, the German chemicals giant BASF found in one of its R&D projects that beam-house processes produce less carbon footprint as compared to the re-tannage process. Similarly, powder products can be substituted by liquid products to bring down the negative impact on the environment.

Another vendor LANXESS has begun the Sustainable Leather Management initiative to systematically address the challenges in the entire value chain of the leather chemicals industry. Use of biopolymers as re-tanning agents, adoption of organic wet white technique, and water-based pigments to enhance the finishing of the leather goods are some of the sustainable practices being undertaken by the company.

Infiniti’s take

Switching to sustainable production processes has become a necessity for every business. Being one of the highest contributors of GHGs, major manufacturers of leather chemicals are proactively looking for planet-friendly technologies to enhance their products. Tools to measure carbon footprint along with certifications from government agencies will encourage higher adoption of green solutions in the leather chemicals industry. ECO2L is one such tool which determines the corporate carbon footprint of a tannery.

Construction 8

Construction Chemicals– Making Green Buildings a Reality

A niche segment of the chemical industry, construction chemicals improves the overall quality and durability of the buildings. Widely used as bonding agents, tile adhesives, expansion & crack joint filters, and plasticizers, these chemicals increase the overall life of the construction work along with providing protection against environmental hazards. With growing demand for green buildings, the adoption of these chemicals in the construction industry has grown manifold.

Why the need for green buildings?

There is more to the idea of green buildings than just being part of the ‘go green’ trend. According to experts in environment studies, around 40% of the GHGs and wastes come from the construction industry. A rather resource intensive industry, constructing a building consumes a lot of natural resources. As a result, there has been an increase in demand for buildings which not only add aesthetic value to the location but are also examples of sustainable development.

Green buildings are constructions which cause a negligible impact on the natural environment of the project site. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency these are structures built using processes which are resource-efficient and environmentally responsible. Also known as high-performance buildings, this idea extends beyond buildings and covers issues like site planning, land-use strategy, and community building.

Construction chemicals and green buildings

The growing awareness of the environmental effects of conventional buildings and changes in government policies throughout the world are the two major reasons behind the large-scale adoption of construction chemicals for buildings. Major players in the construction industry are now paying increased focus on LEED ratings, green points, and sustainable buildings.

Even though the use of these chemicals increases the overall cost of construction, its environmental benefits are far greater. Apart from adding more strength to the buildings, these chemicals bring down the volume of water and cement used in the construction process at an exceptional rate. Another major reason behind the increased adoption of construction chemicals is that it enhances the performance of emerging building technologies like new thermoset hotmelts, structural tapes, and multi-purpose adhesives.

Construction chemicals are one of the best things to be introduced in the building construction industry. Its judicious use is sure to change the face of the global housing market and have a favorable impact on the environment.

Agriculture Chemical Market

Challenges in the Agriculture Chemicals Market – Is Going Digital the Answer?

As farmers turn to technology, agriculture chemicals manufacturers are bracing up to meet the new challenges in the agriculture industry. Especially when it comes to the agrichemical supply chains, the industry is still struggling with synchronizing the entire work process and meeting the ever-growing demands for the chemicals cost-effectively.

Is going digital the ‘panacea’ for problems in the agriculture chemicals supply chain?

Supply chain disruptions and changes in customer needs are the two major pain points faced by manufacturers of agrichemicals. Along with this, providing end-to-end services is another area which calls for focused planning of players in the agrichemical market.

By switching to digitization and investing in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) technology, industry experts believe that the loopholes in the supply chain can be easily tackled. IIOT and predictive analytics facilitate better redressal of the supply chain woes. As predictive analytics makes use of machine learning to decipher patterns in the unstructured data, it becomes easier for market players to respond to changing demands from the customers in an automated manner.

Secondly, by aligning business and digital strategies, agri-chemical companies can gain better ROI. At the moment, majority manufacturers are using digital technology on the front end alone. The result is a decrease in production costs, increase in yields, and sustainable growth. Such improvements in the work process is advantageous for farmers as well as players in the agrichemical industry.

However, to gain long-term results, experts recommend the use of digital technology in strengthening the back-end mechanism as well. The supply chain is the major back-end mechanism which needs to be highly agile to deal with the fluctuating demands from the customers’ end. A digitally-enabled supply chain is sure to leverage the changing market dynamics to the company’s advantage.

Lastly, it will be wrong to assume that adoption of digital technology alone is sufficient to add value to the business. Manufacturers of agrichemicals must realize that it is essential to build a platform which is a synergy of the local resources, regional culture, and digital operations. On its own, digitization is not going to bring in any huge change in the functioning of the businesses. What is needed is an intelligent placement of digital solutions in the organizational structure, so that an element of flexibility is added to the entire work process.

Infiniti’s take on digitization of the agriculture chemicals market

The agriculture chemical industry is undergoing one of the most exciting changes in the past one decade. Digital disruption has in fact added more dynamics in the supply chain and opened up avenues for increased innovation as well as competition.

medical device

Steps to Keep Your Medical Devices Ransomware Proof

As hospitals in the UK and Indonesia grappled with the Ransomware attack, the susceptibility of medical devices to cyber attacks again made news across the globe. One of the most conservative verticals of the life sciences industry, the manufacturers of medical devices are gradually adopting technology to provide a better diagnosis of health conditions. No doubt digitization has transformed the overall performance of the medical devices, but at the same time, it has exposed the industry to events like hacking, malware, and cyber attacks as well.

Hacking of medical devices – What is at stake?

Most medical devices have electronic records of the patient’s medical history, the medicines prescribed, as well as information on allergies and other vital facts. Any compromise on this data will not only attract huge financial loss for the hospitals but will also cost the very lives of the patients. Medical devices like insulin pumps and pacemakers have higher exposure to hacking and malware attack. The wireless technology employed in these devices make them an easy target for the hackers.

Medical devices manufacturers – Bracing up to the challenge

With more than 100 million personal health records being compromised, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rolled out a set of guidelines for the device manufacturers as well as healthcare facilities.

As a medical device manufacturer, the FDA recommends that:

  1. The medical device inventory, change management systems, and other networked servers and workstations are monitored closely
  2. All the devices which are running on unpatched version of Windows should be upgraded to the relevant security patched version of the Windows
  3. Conducting vulnerability scans on a regular basis. Though not a foolproof procedure, vulnerability scans do help in identifying devices which are liable to malware attack
  4. Involving the third-party managers and medical device vendors in the risk management process
  5. Prioritizing patches for medical devices and involving the IT department to update the affected medical devices

Lastly, the FDA also wants medical device manufacturers to build response mechanism to handle incidents of cyber attack and see to it that the other devices and medical facilities do not get infected.

medical devices

New European Medical Devices Regulations: How can Manufacturers Deal with It?

The new European Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) will replace the existing Active Implantable Medical Device Directive (AIMDD) and the Medical Device Directive (MDD). As the new regulation is all set to take over, the manufacturers of medical devices will have to diligently identify areas which might affect their products’ market access in EU.

Given the fact that since the 1990s no major change has taken place in the European medical devices market, the new MDR is being seen as a major game changer in the industry. By adding elements like transparency and product traceability, the new regulation will simplify the rather complex medical device environment in the European Union.

Why MDR?

Since 2010, Europe has witnessed a huge number of hip replacement recalls and breast implant crisis. The high rate of these incidents not only highlight the loopholes in the existing regulations but also underline the need for a new set of guidelines which can address the present-day medical complexities. And this is how the idea for the new MDR came into being. The goal of the new regulation is to provide:

  1. Impartial assessment of the safety and performance of the medical devices before being sold in the EU market
  2. Standardized rules for unproblematic trading between the members of the Union
  3. Specific needs of medium and small-sized manufacturers to be considered
  4. Transparency of information and patient-oriented innovation, along with comprehensive assessment of the risk-benefit aspect of the devices
  5. Greater responsibilities on “Notified Bodies” when it comes to the evaluation of the medium and high-risk medical devices

Infiniti Speaks – How to adapt to the new regulations?

The key to make a mark in the European market and leverage the regulations to one’s advantage is – early preparation and adoption. Depending on their product portfolio, manufacturers of medical devices must adhere to a well-structured approach in the upcoming three years.

It is advisable that manufacturers start by understanding the compliance data at the micro level for at least two to three of their products. The technical documentation of these devices needs to be submitted to the Notified Bodies to get a clear picture of the areas which need focused attention. By undertaking a gap analysis, manufacturers can figure out areas which need to be fixed to comply with the new regulations. Once the product gets evaluated, it gets easier to make changes to the wide range of medical device portfolio – way before the MDR comes into force. Also, there will be a pressing need to update and review all the technical documentation along with product labeling.

The whole process can get a little tedious and time-consuming, but starting early on is sure to help manufacturers to stay competitive and operational in the EU market.

For more information on medical devices regulations

 

data analytics for patient monitoring

Top 3 Ways in which Big Data Can Transform Patient Monitoring

As the traditional healthcare industry is moving towards an era of open information, big data has emerged as a potent tool to provide smart, data-driven thinking. Until recently, most stakeholders in the medical industry had underinvested in information technology. However, with technology seeping into the life sciences industry, there has been an enormous collection of data which can be used to bring down the treatment costs, prevent diseases, and improve the overall quality of life.

Big data in patient monitoring: The tipping point

The quest for innovation in patient monitoring, along with the convergence of several changes in the health care industry are the two reasons for the adoption of big data. Five major changes which created a tipping point for the adoption of big data are:

  1. High demand for better data
  2. Availability of relevant data in the form of EHRs
  3. Adoption of analytical tools for patient care
  4. Market-friendly policies by governments across the globe

Top three ways in which big data is transforming patient monitoring

  1. Electronic health records (EHRs)

EHRs use big data on a huge scale. These digital records store crucial patient information like their medical history, results of lab tests, demographic detail, among others. The data collected in these electronic documents, enable doctors to get a clear picture of the patient history and facilitate better and timely delivery of the healthcare services.

Another major advantage of adopting big data is that now patients can easily keep track of their prescriptions and lab tests. So, by integrating the EHRs across various medical facilities, patients have experienced reduced number of unnecessary hospital visits and lab tests.

  1. Telemedicine

Digitization, smartphones, wireless devices, and online video conferences have set the ball rolling for delivery of remote clinical services. Telemedicine is in full bloom today, all thanks to these technological innovations. The data collected from these devices can be easily shared which makes diagnosis a lot easier. Apart from remote patient monitoring, big data also helps in predicting acute medical events and prevent deterioration of patient’s conditions.

Another major way in which big data has changed telemedicine is by providing real-time data with which operations from remote locations using robots.

  1. Predictive analytics and informed strategic planning

Quick decisions need to be taken when it comes to treating patients suffering from multiple complex conditions. The role of data becomes even more important in this context. Big data provides insights which help doctors make informed decisions and improve the overall treatment process. These insights also help in predictive analytics, as it becomes easier to foresee which patient is at the risk of diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.

Most of all, the use of big data in patient monitoring enables academics and care managers to review the healthcare delivery strategy and work towards informed strategic planning.

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