How PharmID is Reducing Medication Errors with Azure

When large pharmaceutical companies manufacture and package medications, they follow strict guidelines and processes to ensure safety, efficiency and accuracy. However, once the medication leaves the manufacturer, its chemical composition is seldom verified. The drug lifecycle lacks certainty, placing a huge burden on pharmacists to prove that medications are prepared and stored properly without any real evidence. 

PharmID was created to give pharmacists more powerful tools to verify medication, such as the technology that the major manufacturers use. One such technology, created by MarqMetrix, is a small, easy-to-use, powerful, Raman spectroscopy instrument to identify molecular composition. The next step was creating an app for the drug-verification solution, and to do that, Microsoft technologies were key. PharmID used Windows 10 IoT Core, Azure and PowerBI to build the solution, enabling customers to verify medication and dosage and deliver better patient care. 

What Challenges Was The Healthcare Industry Facing

With such a phenomenal annual spend on pharmaceuticals, it’s surprising to know that there is often no way for hospitals to verify the products they recieve. Medication quality control can be challenging at best and is made increasingly complicated when they are moved from hospitals to pharmacies to dispensing stations before being given to a patient. Getting it wrong is incredibly dangerous, with the outcome being catastrophic for patients and healthcare professionals alike. Medication errors and opioid theft harm millions of people annually with the cost reaching billions of dollars.

PharmID wanted to help solve the problem and aimed to do so by bringing MarqMetrix Raman spectroscopy technology to healthcare providers to enable them to easily verify the molecular composition of medications. The technology had previously been reserved for a small scientific community due to its high cost and operational complexity. However,  with years of development, the company created a Raman instrument that could be suitable for the healthcare market. The next challenge, however, was to build the solution and embed the Raman spectroscopy technology into an app that customers could easily use in everyday workflows. 

How Microsoft Helped Deliver the WasteWitness Solution

The key to delivering the WasteWitness solution was in combining MarqMetrix technologies and Microsoft technologies. The solution would enable healthcare providers to verify drugs at the point of disposal, giving them hard evidence as to whether they had been correctly handled, controlled and administered. Moreover, the technology could be used by non-specialists, authenticating chemicals in seconds without disrupting packaging or altering the contents in any way. 

PharmID used the WIndows 10 IoT Core operating system alongside the Azure cloud system to deliver its solution, core elements include:

  • Microsoft Power BI Embedded – to help PharmID analyse spectroscopy data remotely, giving insights into patterns and trends that might highlight theft or drug mishandling. 

  • Azure Cloud Services – to help integrate the verification process with each customers’ existing workflows, enabling fast and accurate analysis.

  • Azure Service Fabric – to manage the platform in multitenant cloud services and ensure data isolation.

  • ASP.NET Core – to help customers unlock insights and to build a web portal for the platform where administrators could create interactive, contextual reports. 

  • Azure DevOps – to help manage code, implement CI/CD practices and automate deployments.

By using Azure over other cloud platforms, PharmID had more resources at their fingertips. Everything is automated through Azure DevOps, creating a streamlined approach for managing the software. 

The Result of Working with Azure

By working with Azure, PharmID has a central place to store and analyse data for every medication that is scanned. The WasteWitness solution they have created is a significant shift for the healthcare industry, allowing every medication to be scanned on a per tenant basis in a simple, non-destructive way. 

The initial impact is huge, reducing the uncertainty of medications at the end of their life cycles and generating invaluable data to identify vulnerabilities in the system. In the future, the solution will be able to be used to verify medication prior to distribution, which will reduce errors and uncertainty even further. The Verify solution will enable healthcare providers to ensure safety, efficiency and accuracy in the same way as the pharmaceutical companies that are supplying them. With the power of the MarqMetrix Raman spectroscopy technology combined with Windows 10 IoT Core and Azure, PharmID has a real chance of transforming the way healthcare providers handle medication, protecting themselves and their patients. 

Could Microsoft Azure Help Your Business?

By using Azure alongside other Microsoft resources, PharmID and its customers can count on enterprise scalability without substantial resource requirements. PharmID can build and deliver new applications and services to their customers, without large investments or disruptions in operations. By using Microsoft technology, your business has the chance to support customers with automated provisioning, deployment and a multitenant architecture. And, by letting Microsoft do the heavy lifting, your business has more opportunity to expand its solutions and services.

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About the author

Michael Ridland is the Co-CEO and Founder of Xam Consulting.

Design-led problem solving delivering digital solutions.

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