The Association of Finnish Pharmacies - End-to-End Monitoring for Online Pharmacy Shipments

1.

Situation

Ensuring the usability of medical goods all the way to the end-customer

The star of this more extensive customer story is a local pharmacy in Simonkylä in Vantaa, Finland. Simonkylän Uusi Apteekki is a member of the Finnish Association of Pharmacies, Apteekkariliitto. The Association of Finnish Pharmacies represents privately owned pharmacies in Finland, provides them services and develops high quality pharmacy and healthcare operations.

The loss of medical products is a major problem, with over $35 Billion worth of goods being spoilt globally every year due to poor cold chain monitoring. Like many other pharmacies, Simonkylän Uusi Apteekki wanted to minimize the amount of spoilage. After all, spoilt medical goods are not only a financial loss to the pharmacy itself, but also a health hazard to the customer if unnoticed - and harmful to the environment.

Like many other pharmacies starting e-commerce operations, which creates challenges distinct to online shopping. Apteekkariliitto has paved the way for its members by developing a program for pharmacy operations development. Online pharmacies and pharmaceutical e-commerce are an important part of the program, which encourages both Apteekkariliitto and its members to fine-tune everything from delivery to monitoring.

To make sure that as many products as possible would stay usable during and after shipping and storing, a small data logger was needed. Traditionally a data logger would be placed into a shipping container to monitor the shipping conditions, but having only one point of measurement lead to the necessary interpretation that if the temperature had risen too high at that point, the whole shipment would be unusable. Indicator stamps were an option, but their incapability to be accurate set another challenge: if the temperature got too high, it was simply “too high”, without description of for how long or how much.

Since the pharmacies want to ensure that the sold goods are usable to the very point when they’re about to be used, having a data logger that could stay in the package until the customer removes it is a must.

2.

Solution

Data loggers small enough to be included in every package

Logmore QR Tags were a natural solution. Being not much bigger than indicator stamps, they could be placed within most medical product packages, while also being capable of showing when, for how long, and by how much temperatures have varied during the shipping and storing of the product. Even better, unlike with traditional data loggers the monitoring could go on until the product reaches the end customer and even after that. This in turn would allow the customer to see if their medicine had been handled correctly and if they themselves were storing them in a correct manner.

3.

Results

Quality assurance throughout the supply chain

The first pilot was used as a basis from which we and the AFP built a process that can be applied to the temperature monitoring of shipments of any and all e-commerce pharmacies.

With Logmore’s service implemented, both the employees and the customers of Simonkylän Uusi Apteekki could verify if the goods were still usable or not. As a result, the quality assurance is higher than ever.

As a confirmation of the usability, a majority of the tags in the very first trial batch to reach end-customer homes was returned to pharmacies according to the instructions provided. Trust builds trust, and of the original QR tags 50% were returned to the pharmacy to be reused soon after reaching the end user.

The customized scan confirmation page allowed even the end customer to check in a second whether the product was good to use thanks to a simple thumbs down / all OK UI.


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