4 ways technology can help the pharmaceutical industry solve its learning needs
Posted on 4th April, 2017 by Sean Nugent
Large multi-national pharmaceutical organisations have complex learning needs, unique to the Pharma and Life Sciences industry. Technological innovations and advancements are an almost daily part of the job for people working in the Pharma sector, so it is important that learning takes place with these industry-specific challenges in mind. Whether it is conducting a drug trial, determining patient preferences, defining your market access strategy or leveraging technology to communicate complicated concepts to staff or patients, pharmaceutical industry learning is a dynamic and rapidly-changing field. But how do organisations go about leveraging innovations in learning technology to meet these industry challenges?
Technology in the pharmaceutical industry
One of the biggest pharmaceutical industry challenges is about getting Pharma employees to be more innovative and agile in their thinking to enable optimal use of technology to deliver solutions.
Learning technology isn’t just about using technology to deliver content – it can also be used as a way to ensure real engagement, whether to maintain participation in a clinical trial, maintain adherence to a treatment, or simply to use technology as part of day-to-day health monitoring. Here are four ways that technology can be used in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry to deliver tactical, long-term learning solutions.
1) Everyday healthcare apps
The possibilities of using technology in healthcare are endless. One of those technological advancements is mobile health (mHealth) apps. There are now over 165,000 mHealth apps available in the Apple iTunes and Android app stores, according to a study by the QuintilesIMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. There are countless applications of mHealth apps, such as a patient with diabetes using an app to monitor their blood sugar levels, using apps to support clinical trials, or simply learning more about the patient’s own particular condition. All of these apps have a learning component.
2) Artificial Intelligence and machine learning
Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are likely to have a major impact on healthcare and the Pharma industry in future. Trials are already underway where machines analyse scans, such as MRIs, with greater accuracy than humans do. This will likely change the nature of jobs in the industry in future and, as a result, there is a need for continuous learning for all employees in the Pharma industry.
3) Wearable tech
Wearable technology that records information such as heart rate or number of steps taken could potentially change the way clinical trial data is managed. Technology can now help record data more accurately and more frequently than ever before. Wearable technology is increasingly having a role in learning and, combined with data analytics, will enable the impact of learning to be more precisely measured.
4) Embedding gaming technology in the clinical trial process
Games can assist with a wide range of learning needs, including therapeutic use (for example, dealing with trauma) or as a way of maintaining adherence to a treatment protocol. Our organisation developed a game called AIIR to ensure that young people taking part in an asthma trial stayed on the programme. Getting adults to stay continually involved in a two-year trial can be a mammoth task, let alone children. Using the format of a game, AIIR’s engaging design actively encouraged participation from the younger audience in a competitive gameplay environment. Participants posted their results directly into the game, with the result that after two years, 100% of participants stayed on the trial. This is a significant improvement compared to a normal rate of around 70%.
Technology is having – and will continue to have – a big impact on healthcare and Pharma. As a learning technologies solutions provider, LEO has been leading the way on embedding games and learning tech into patient-focused behaviour and learning. As new technology emerges, we are looking for ways to integrate this into impactful elearning programmes for a variety of audiences – whether that’s doctors, patients, nurses or technicians.
Check out our free pharmaceutical industry learning ebook, which looks at global challenges facing the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry or get in touch if you’d like to speak to a LEO expert.
Sean Nugent is a Senior Account Director at LEO.