Miami, FL — DHL Global Forwarding, the air and ocean freight specialist of Deutsche Post DHL Group, and American Airlines Cargo have released a joint report on the logistical challenges and opportunities posed by personalized medicine, also known as targeted or precision medicine. Titled “Patients, Processes and Partnerships: The Path to Personalized Medicine in Latin America”, the report provides a detailed look at the future of medical logistics in the Latin American region and four key solutions to support the development of personalization.
Personalized medicine can be considered an extension of traditional approaches to treating disease. Physicians are able to pinpoint a patient’s molecular profile and suggest the right therapy. Factors such as gender, weight, and DNA are all considered to tailor treatments according to each person’s needs. However, this makes it impractical to ship large pallets to set locations.
“With personalized medicine, companies will need to deliver solutions directly to people rather than to institutions, which will change how we view—and transport—medical treatments,” said Patricia Cole, Managing Director, Same Day & LifeConEx, DHL Global Forwarding. “This shift will present a huge challenge to the already complex logistics involved in delivering pharmaceutical solutions, many of which have very strict—and varied—temperature and timing requirements to remain effective. We believe the success of personalized medicine will rely on how well the logistics industry responds to the operational issues involved.”
To add to the complexities, healthcare in Latin America is as diverse as its people and geographic terrain. There are no regional standards for medical shipments, so each logistics provider must work to meet each country’s regulations, such as sterilization labeling, transportation modes in varied terrains, accessibility to well-equipped facilities and qualified doctors. Economic and political stability also play important roles in how healthcare is delivered within countries. Even when countries offer top-notch healthcare systems, not all residents have equal access to the same resources: hospitals, medical personnel, technology, or even simple Internet access.
To help advance the potential of personalized medicine, the report found several crucial solutions including:
Data Analytics for Cold Chain Intelligence. These include artificial intelligence, self-learning systems, data mining and pattern recognition solutions that can learn from a constant stream of information.
Innovations in Technology. Many carriers are already investing to build a connected fleet. Those that are more forward-looking are also looking to experiment with semi-autonomous and electric vehicles, or with sharing platforms. Other examples include integrating pilot use cases for drones that will enable further exploration of emergency logistics response tactics, particularly for last mile considerations in precision medicine distribution.
Treatment Based Logistics & Distribution Programs. Integration of patient and shipment coordination for specific disease treatments, allowing health providers and logistics providers to collaborate to deliver a patient-centric experience.
Increased Collaboration Between Forwarders and Carriers. Between them, forwarders and airline carriers can deliver end-to-end logistics, and deeper collaboration will help them overcome the challenges in personalized medicine logistics.
“As an industry, we must invest in new technology and next-gen solutions, including intelligent IT networks, big data analytics and AI, but also in our people and processes to ensure we can deliver what our customers need more effectively, efficiently and precisely,” said Roger Samways, Vice President, Sales, American Airlines Cargo. “By working hand in hand with medical professionals, corporations and governments, logistics and supply chain professionals can begin to solve the personalized medicine puzzle that is coming.”