The healthcare industry is no different from other industrial sectors in its rapid adoption of technology and digitization. The effectiveness of the healthcare logistics operations has increased thanks to technologically enabled solutions, which have also guaranteed the efficacy and security of the treatments used.
Healthcare logistics in India is expanding at an astounding rate and most of it involves cold chain operations. The cold chain logistics market is predicted to expand by more than 20% CAGR by 2025, according to a JLL analysis. This is a result of the industry seeing a lot of new trends emerge, most of which are connected to the use of new technologies. Here are a few of the most significant new technological innovations that are influencing India's healthcare logistics and have the potential to transform the entire sector.
Sustainable health systems - There was an urgent need for higher medical-grade freezers and refrigeration methods since some COVID-19 vaccines require an average temperature of -70 C to retain their efficacy. However, the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and other medical-grade refrigerants in the past that had a high global warming potential (GWP) led to regulations like the US SNAP and EU F-Gas programmes, which compelled a number of manufacturers in the medical cold chain field to switch to sustainable alternatives that not only minimize the environmental impact of their products but also reduce emissions.
AI, IoT and Robotics - The IoT has a significant impact on how plasma and mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 are stored and distributed. One of the highlights has been preventing monetary losses due to product damage brought on by delays and temperature errors. Web-based and data-driven interfaces ensure effortless, remote, and real-time temperature monitoring. A better understanding of the products and their conditions is made possible through inventory management and remote temperature control systems. Additionally, if the data could be used, as it now is, to analyse customer behaviour and prepare for issues through accurate predictive analytics via AI and machine learning, it would increase the supply chain's overall efficiency and guarantee the health of patients everywhere.
Technologies like RFID tags are being utilised to increase traceability, leading to fewer manual errors and smoother product identification processes, which in turn improve inventory management and offer a more secure supply chain.
Use of ultra-low freezers in vaccine cold chains - To transport medical items that are temperature-sensitive, a temperature-controlled supply chain has gained traction. Also, the significance of ultra-low freezers (also known as ULTs) for the secure storage of vaccinations expanded noticeably during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that ULTs are widely used around the globe, new technological developments have made it possible to include or improve characteristics like effective monitoring systems, consistent temperature distributions, and quick pulldown, holdover, and recovery times.
The aforementioned trends have taken on a position of utmost significance and are upending how experts view healthcare logistics in India. They have also been the main forces behind this sector's tremendous rise.
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