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rfxcel Joins the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, Offers rIM and AIM Solutions

rfxcel has joined the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, a collaborative private-industry response to novel coronavirus that brings together leading organizations in healthcare, technology, academia, the nonprofit sector, and government.

Members of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition include a “Who’s Who” of American healthcare and business, including the Mayo Clinic, Pfizer, athenahealth, and Amazon Web Services. (See the most recently updated list here.) Each will bring its unique assets to support industry stakeholders, front-line responders, and federal, state, and local government organizations in the COVID-19 pandemic.

rfxcel is happy to offer two of our cutting-edge supply chain solutions, rfxcel Integrated Monitoring (rIM) and Accurate Immunization Management (AIM), as part of its contribution to the coalition. More on this below.

More about the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition: Goals, Principles

The goal of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition is to save lives through data analytics. Gathering real-time data is key to learning about COVID-19 and how to best deliver healthcare to protect public health.

The coalition operates according to five guiding principles. Quoted from its website, they are:

    • Everyone participates for the benefit of the country only — no preferential advantage to any one organization.
    • Everyone cooperates and openly shares their plans.
    • Nobody will get paid for coalition work – without exception. Everyone brings their own resources – no money is exchanged.
    • Verbal agreements will suffice to get us started.
    • Agree to these terms and conditions and you are in.

As of April 7, the coalition said it was organizing around five priorities as it “urgently [tries] to work at the speed of the pandemic”:

    • Connecting personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers worldwide to healthcare organizations with immediate needs for N95 masks, ventilators, and protective gowns
    • Connecting government COVID-19 initiatives to startups to rapidly accelerate ventilator supplies
    • Connecting the best protocols for treating COVID-19 from across the nation and sharing them online for the public good
    • Connecting an ecosystem of private sector capabilities to accelerate telehealth, home care, and alternative options to reduce load at hospitals
    • Connecting the best sources of information from around the world to provide data, analytics, and insights to all

rfxcel’s contribution to the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition

Our Washington, D.C.-based Worldwide Government Group is leading our efforts in the coalition’s fight against COVID-19. This team of government and supply chain experts focuses on mission readiness and develops tools to protect the supply chain against disruptions for the most vulnerable products. It will support the Supply Chain Working Group, facilitated by MITRE Corporation, to bring rIM and AIM to coalition members.

Here’s how our powerful solutions will contribute to the coalition’s goals:

    • rIM is award-winning solution that uses Internet of Things (IoT) technology to monitor the environmental condition of products in real time as they move through supply chains on land, sea, and air. It is widely used in pharmaceutical cold chains to monitor high-value medical supplies, including vaccines. rIM communicates with small IoT-enabled devices embedded with products and sends updates and alerts about more than a dozen environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, light, orientation (tilt), and shock. It also monitors location, so it can alert users about route diversions and ensure logistics providers remain in compliance with delivery agreements. It can monitor at both the top level (e.g., case, pallet, truck) and the item level (e.g., syringe, packet, bottle), yielding true supply chain traceability and transparency.

 

    • AIM is an automated, cloud-based solution that tracks the dispensing of vaccines — including potential vaccines for COVID-19 — in the supply chain and seamlessly integrates with critical healthcare applications such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Immunization Information Systems (IIS). It empowers healthcare practitioners to view patients’ immunization records in real time, manage accurate administering, monitor inventory, and safely dispense the right vaccines to the right patient at the right time. AIM utilizes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rules and guidance for vaccine combinations, special populations, and required intervals between vaccines, and adheres to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules for dispensing. Because it is automated, users can be up and running with virtually no training, ensuring quick implementation in mission-critical locations.

Final thoughts

rfxcel is proud to be a member of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition. As Greg Moulthrop, vice president of our Worldwide Government Group, said, “We care about protecting the public … With rIM and AIM, rfxcel can do its part to safeguard people and, we hope, hasten both the end of COVID-19 and the recovery of our communities and economy.”

Our CEO, Glenn Abood, added, “We feel that our everyday work is helping by keeping supply chains moving in the pharma, food and beverage, and consumer goods industries, but we felt we could do more. When Greg told us about the coalition, we were all in.”

To learn more about rfxcel’s work with the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition or what rfxcel offers the government, contact our Worldwide Government Group at publicservices@rfxcel.com or visit rfxgov.com. To learn more about all our supply chain solutions, contact Vice President of Marketing Herb Wong at hwong@rfxcel.com and take a look around our website.

rfxcel MobileTraceability App for Pharma: Mobile Data Capture from Virtually Any Location Optimizes Supply Chain Logistics and Patient Safety

rfxcel is dedicated to optimizing the pharmaceutical supply chain. We want to remove boundaries, improve data capture and usage, and ensure patient safety.

With our new and improved rfxcel MobileTraceability application, pharma companies, dispensers, and pharmacies can do all of these things — and much more.

rfxcel MobileTraceability brings our industry-leading track and trace capabilities to virtually any location, including places that traditionally may not have had absolute visibility in your supply chain, such as distribution centers, warehouses, pharmacies, and hospitals. It also brings the power of a digital supply chain, moving you away from paper records and streamlining your operations.

The app integrates the power of our signature Traceability System (rTS) with the built-in scanning capabilities of mobile devices and scanners. With rTS tracking and reporting capabilities on a mobile device, the workflow of the pharma supply chain is simplified. For example, manufacturers and distributors can perform critical tasks quickly and easily, such as verifying shipments and receipts, and aggregating/disaggregating pallets and cases.

rfxcel MobileTraceability supports multiple platforms, from ruggedized devices with optimized scanners to consumer devices with built-in cameras, such as smartphones. Now you can select devices that meet your needs and budget without comprising on performance.

With these capabilities literally right in their hands, dispensers can:

  • Ensure only legally compliant items are dispensed
  • Scan and verify dispensed products
  • Decommission products
  • Scan sealed bags to automatically decommission all packs inside

The app also offers key benefits to pharmacies. Its simple user interface makes it easy to use, reducing the chance of errors and false override of alerts. It also facilitates intense collaboration and coordination externally and internally to:

  • Achieve regulatory compliance
  • Improve risk management, recall management, and inventory management
  • Automate and review distribution flows and processes
  • Create specialized receiving capabilities
  • Ensure patient safety with store returns and recalls functionality
  • Gain true end-to-end supply chain traceability

rfxcel MobileTraceability adapts to any workflow, transforming how you manage your supply chain. The pharma industry has unique demands, and a one-size-fits-all approach just won’t work. The app allows us to be as flexible as you need us to be and to deliver granular visibility and flexibility anywhere your supply chain goes. Contact us today to learn more about what rfxcel MobileTraceability can do for you.

How a Full-Stack Supply Chain Track-and-Trace Solution Benefits the Food & Beverage and Pharma Industries

The food & beverage (F&B) and pharma industries aren’t quite polar opposites, but they are very different. This includes their supply chains.

For example, F&B companies must get their products to grocery stores, hotels, airports, restaurants, and other “consumer-centric” clients, while pharma companies’ primary customers are hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and other stakeholders in the health care system. Their products also have different environmental and compliance requirements.

But there are similarities. Both industries want to ensure the purity and safety of their products. Both want to get their products to end users quickly, securely, and on time. Both work with diverse trading partners, including wholesalers and distributors. Both want their supply chains to optimize operations and boost bottom lines.

And there’s one more similarity: Both can benefit from a full-stack supply chain solution — like our signature rfxcel Traceability System (rTS) platform.

What is a “full-stack” supply chain solution?

A full-stack supply chain solution gives customers a complete, integrated set of technologies to control their entire supply chain. rTS is a full-stack solution comprising software that empowers companies to see deeply into their supply chains in real time. It yields data that can optimize operations, and gives peace of mind because everything is managed and accessible in one secure, private cloud-based location.

Furthermore, full-stack solutions are easily customizable and system validation is automated based on customer requirements. Users determine the features they need and choose the appropriate components. For example, rTS includes solutions that are critical for both F&B and pharma, such as rfxcel Serialization Processing, rfxcel Compliance Management, and rfxcel Analytics. But it also includes products designed for each industry, such as rfxcel Raw Ingredients Traceability for F&B and rfxcel Verification Router Service (rVRS) for pharma.

What are the benefits of a full-stack solution?

Probably the greatest benefit of a full-stack supply chain solution is “all-in-one” power and convenience. Instead of a piecemeal approach to supply chain management — using different providers for different solutions — a full-stack solution centralizes your operations.

F&B and pharma companies have to ask themselves, “Do I really want to spend my time finding a different tool for every task? One for compliance, one for serialization, one for data analytics, one for scanning, and on and on and on?”

They also have to ask what problems this approach might cause. Can they be certain their solution providers can communicate with one another? Are the providers actually in competition with one another? Can they share data quickly and securely? If something goes wrong with one solution, will the problem cascade throughout the supply chain — and can they find the right person to fix it?

Another advantage is that a full-stack solution provider will understand your needs much better than a disparate collection of providers. They can analyze your entire supply chain, identify your needs, and tailor just the right combination of solutions to meet your goals. It’s a holistic approach that sees both the individual components of your supply chain and the end-to-end “big picture,” from manufacturing to the consumer.

Plus, you’ll have just one point of contact for all your inquiries and support. If you have a question or a problem, you’ll know that you’re contacting the right person and you’ll get answers quickly.

rfxcel’s full-stack traceability solutions in action

Let’s illustrate some benefits of our full-stack traceability solution by highlighting rTS, rIM, and our MobileTraceability app. With these, pharma and F&B companies have all bases covered in a seamless, integrated, end-to-end supply chain traceability solution.

With rTS, pharma companies will know they’re compliant with regulations everywhere they do business, such as the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in the USA, the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) in the EU, as well as regulations in Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, Brazil, and other countries. F&B companies will know they’re meeting the requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the UK’s Food Standards Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and others. They’ll also be compliant with GS1 standards and their customers’ requirements.

Using rIM to monitor products in real time as they move through the supply chain, both industries can ensure they’re meeting environmental requirements, such as temperature and humidity parameters. If a problem arises, rIM sends an alert and they can take immediate action.

Key actors at every node of the supply chain can use our MobileTraceability app to scan and record events, track products, and manage items down to the unit level. For example, using the app on a smartphone with a scanner, pharma stakeholders can verify, decommission, and aggregate serialized products at any stage of the supply chain. A F&B stakeholder can record data about raw materials (e.g., batch number, supplier, date of arrival, expiration, and analytics) and trace any ingredient that’s part of the finished good.

A full-stack supply chain solution has numerous benefits for F&B and pharma — as well as any other industry that wants to simplify, coordinate, and optimize its supply chain. To learn more about how our full-stack rTS platform can transform your supply chain, contact us today!

Selecting the Right Serialization Solution for You

Serialization solutions are not all created the same, and several factors must be taken into account when deciding which solution fits your needs.

Data integrity needs to be at the forefront of your decision making process. While nearly all solutions offer compliance and data validation, few provide continued data validation and verification after implementation. Continued data verification is immensely important, as errors do happen. Product master data needs to be accurate and aligned for an efficient and safe supply chain.  Having a serialization solution provider that works with you closely and catches errors before they get into the system or network is crucial.

A serialization solution provider needs be flexible for any product change processes that could create data inconsistencies between trading partners. Having a solution provider that works with all of your trading partners is important to create a system that meets all data and product standards.

Beyond data integrity – control, flexibility, trading partner connectivity, and scalability should all be key factors when picking a solution.

Most serialization and traceability software are built on cloud computing using either a multi-tenant or single-tenant architecture. Solution providers selling a multi-tenant architecture often over simplify this approach, selling it to their customers as a way to get automatic software upgrades with little or no effort. But, beware – these uncoordinated updates force customers into system upgrades with little or no coordination or consideration for their own system configurations. This can be incredibly disruptive to the customer and require revalidation and new system configurations. Conversely, single-tenant solutions give the customer control of when they implement updates, allowing them to upgrade at a time that is not only convenient for them, but allows them to ensure their configurations remain intact.

An effective serialization solution will also be flexible enough to fit all of your individual needs, while being scalable enough to cover all of your manufacturing and distribution needs. The solution should take into account what your systems require now and what they will require in the future as your company grows. Alongside flexibility and scalability, your solution should be connected to hundreds of other trading partners, allowing instant communication between network members and transmission of serialization and / or T3 data (transaction statement, transaction history, transaction information).

rfxcel’s solutions are built with our customers in mind. Our single-tenant architecture ensures that our solutions are flexible and scalable, all while ensuring our customers have complete control over their systems. We provide expert data monitoring to confirm that all of your products are properly serialized and traceable. Our solution uses over 100 data checks to verify your data and flags errors, giving you the time to fix issues before products ship.

The global supply chain never rests, and our global support and solution experts are available 24/7 to take your questions. Contact us today to learn more about our serialization and track and trace solutions or to talk with of our solution experts.

Serialization Solution

Blockchain Technology in Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

Interview with Ramana Pinnam, Director of Product Management, about blockchain technology in the pharmaceutical industry

Perhaps you have heard tale of the up and coming technology called blockchain. Maybe you are an expert on blockchain technology and how it fits into the world of pharmaceuticals. Or perhaps you are like most of the world and you are unsure about what to make of blockchain and frankly you are afraid to ask anyone to explain. If that describes you, never fear! We recently had a fantastic opportunity sit down with Ramana Pinnam, Sr. Director of Product Management here at rfxcel,  after he presented at the 2017 HDA Traceability Seminar. Hopefully this conversation sheds as much light on blockchain technology as it has for us.

 

Could you give us a brief overview of blockchain technology?

Absolutely. Blockchain technology almost says it all in its name. Imagine the “block” as a piece of data and the chain is where that data hooks into place with all the other “blocks” of data. This is a very basic understanding of this technology. The idea behind blockchain technology is to create a secure online based and shared ledger of sorts. Like a banker would keep a ledger of all the transactions by hand, blockchain takes a certain category of transaction and locks in the data so it cannot be lost or misplaced. Blockchain in regards to supply chain has been used primarily in crypto currency transaction such as Bitcoin, but now we are seeing larger companies like Walmart using blockchain to keep detailed records of some of its food products. It is increasingly important in our world today to be able to efficiently track products and transactions from creation to when it reaches the consumers’ hands. Blockchain technology creates a very efficient avenue for that, and we are seeing some pharmaceutical companies beginning to investigate how it can apply to our industry.

 

Speaking of pharmaceutical companies, how does blockchain technology relate to the pharmaceutical industry?

Well, as of now it does not directly correlate or relate. Some companies are partnering together to research and decide if blockchain technology will be utilized as the future for tracking all individual medications and products manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. It seems to be a promising technology to incorporate into tracking products and mitigating risk of loss or counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products.

 

What are some Pro’s and Con’s about adopting blockchain technology?

The largest con right now is that we just do not know for sure if blockchain technology will do what we need it to do. A lot more testing needs to be done in the pharmaceutical industry. One of the main pros is also a con. Blockchain locks in data so it cannot be changed or altered. This is quite a positive when trying to track products, but user error can make this problematic. That is why appropriate education and training will be needed for those who adopt blockchain within the supply chain.

 

If you could, what type of timeline would you guess at for the full incorporation of blockchain into our industry?

As I said earlier, a lot more testing and research must be done. I am not sure of a specific timeline, but there are companies and organizations turning over rocks as we speak to see how blockchain can fit into the pharmaceutical industry. These things take time, but if the research and testing comes back promising we could see the full integration of blockchain technology in just the next few years.

 

After speaking with Ramana Pinnam we all felt a lot more confident in our understanding of blockchain technology. We hope that we at rfxcel can help you feel more confident about all trends in technology and pharmaceuticals. As far as blockchain technology goes, we are always committed to utilizing the best resources available for our clients. As more information becomes available about the application and use of blockchain technology into our industry you will be the first to know about it.

About rfxcel:

rfxcel is the leading provider of SaaS-based track and trace solutions. Their solution enables companies to protect patients and meet their compliance needs, while getting insights and visibility into their supply chain. Their relentless commitment to customer success and continuous innovation ensures that companies meet their requirements and protect those who depend on them.

 

Blockchain technology in pharmaceutical supply chain