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Robotic Process Automation In Life Sciences: A Detailed Guide

Life sciences is an industry that involves scientific processes that could potentially improve the quality and duration of life, as well as food, health and beauty products. Pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biotechnology are some of the many products produced by companies in this industry.

The life sciences industry, also known as Pharmaland, is full of innovations. It always has been. From the very first time humans contemplated their mortality to the present time when we have numerous options while facing a terminal illness today, life sciences have been at work every step of the way creating new technologies and introducing breakthrough drugs to improve or save lives.

What Is RPA In Life Sciences

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is a software that allows business process automation to make repetitive tasks more efficient, intelligent and cost-effective. RPA solutions are available as software installed on-premises or in the cloud.

They use software bots that mimic the actions of human workers to provide faster, better and cheaper results with less effort and fewer errors than humans.

By 2030, the market for robotic process automation (RPA) is expected to reach a value of over 13 billion US dollars, up more than 12 billion from the previous year.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a life science term for using robots to do “robot-like” tasks like collecting data from different systems or providing data inputs to other systems by typing data into screens or pushing buttons.

The Implementation Of RPA In Life Sciences

RPA is implemented in many different tasks within the life sciences industry. It is used to automate:

• Ordering and purchasing of products or raw material;

• Complex data processing and manual data entry;

• Data collection and reporting;

• Data organization and extraction into corporate databases.

Revenues from the robotic process automation industry are anticipated to surpass four billion dollars globally in 2020.

RPA is often used as a support tool to do repetitive tasks that are done manually by human workers. RPA disrupts the manual process by creating a software robot which can complete the task quicker, better and cheaper than manual labor. This can save hundreds of thousands of dollars by eliminating redundant labor costs while allowing for increased flexibility in working hours.

The Applications Of RPA In Life Sciences

Robotic process automation (RPA) is increasingly being used in clinical trials and the life sciences industry to automate manual processes. This can help improve efficiency and accuracy, and free up staff to focus on more value-added tasks. RPA can also help to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Manual processes can be time-consuming and may not always meet regulatory compliance standards. Research and consumer feedback can help identify process improvements achieved that can be made. Data entry can be streamlined and made more efficient through the use of technology.

1. Pharmaceuticals

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The pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest industries in the life sciences industry. It is responsible for manufacturing millions of drugs that help with a wide range of diseases, illnesses and conditions. Pharmaceuticals also play an important role in the production of medical devices that are used for surgeries and other medical procedures.

With all its importance as a major player in this industry, pharmaceuticals still face challenges related to data quality and accuracy which directly affects their ability to provide high-quality medicines and other products to their customers.

2. Biotechnology

Biotechnology involves the use of living organisms, chemicals and microorganisms to make new vaccines, drugs and other life enhancing products. Biotechnology also plays an important role in agriculture as well as in cellular biology. The basic process of making new drugs is done by taking a sample of an organism or some other chemical source.

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The sample is then used to create a product that can be given directly to patients or it can be used for research purposes to search for the best way to use the new drug. It involves many different steps like: application testing, clinical trials and finally approval before it gets sold on the market.

The process takes a very long time which results in many more errors and delays in the whole process. RPA is well suited for biotechnology because it can eliminate these errors and delays by automating the various parts of the process.

3. Food And Beverages

The food and beverage industry has a high demand for quality products that are safe to consume. Quality must be consistently maintained over a period of time because product may not last as long as expected – especially if it is made from fresh ingredients.

RPA makes it possible to automate the entire quality control process used when creating food or beverages which greatly reduces waste due to incorrect packaging and distribution processes. RPA can also reduce these problems by giving the end customer the product they want in the right condition.

4. Public Administration

The public administration sector involves different government agencies that handle social services and perform other functions like: law enforcement, education, healthcare, tourism and even transportation.

Even though RPA is used for many tasks in the public administration sector, it is mainly used for data collection and data preparation processes. These are two of the primary requirements that need to be done before creating new laws and implementing them on a nation-wide scale. The current system has a significant number of delays which wastes time in making sure laws are implemented correctly.

The Benefits Of RPA In Life Sciences

There is a growing trend towards more automated healthcare systems, with data collection process and business processes being increasingly handled by artificial intelligence and cognitive automation. This is resulting in a more efficient and effective healthcare system overall.

1. Productivity – Increased Productivity

RPA allows us to automate processes like: data collection, data preparation, data transformation and data analysis. These processes are tedious and take a long time to complete.

But with the help of RPA, it is possible to achieve these productivity increases. In addition, RPA gives you an opportunity to build new products while automating old ones. The more work that robots can do that humans can’t, the more productive your company will become. RPA cut the cycle time from start to finish by 30%.

2. Efficiency – Fewer Errors and Delays

One of the biggest challenges in life sciences is accuracy. Every automated process involves a certain number of errors in order for it to be error free. These errors tend to delay the whole process and make the product or procedure fail. RPA can be used as a tool in this respect by eliminating human error by pointing out all errors and delays much before they occur.

3. Quality – Achieving Product Standards

Automating certain processes in life sciences can help in achieving higher quality targets such as: pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and food products which have a long shelf life. The process of manual data gathering is time consuming.

It is one of the reasons that those processes usually exceed their standards that they are tested for. This increases the cost of manufacturing these products as well because they are required to meet uncalibrated standards before being sold to customers. First-time accuracy increased with RPA from 85% to 99%.

4. Compliance – Increased Control

With the help of RPA, it is possible for management to exercise control over even the smallest details of processes and systems. This leads to improved customer satisfaction, decreased production costs and a guarantee of greater quality control.

5. Cost – Lower Production Costs

Setting up automated processes can reduce the cost of operations by eliminating paper work, repetitive labor and other expenses associated with manual tasks. The proper use of RPA can also lead to great benefits in reducing production costs because machines make errors far less than humans do when they are learning new tasks. This means that you won’t have to replace them as frequently since they will learn by themselves how to do their jobs properly.

6. Optimization – Increased Efficiency, Flexibility And Reduced Time

The use of RPA can lead to a higher level of productivity, reduced costs, quality and compliance by eliminating waste from processes. The decreased time taken in executing processes leads to greater efficiency and enhanced control since you won’t have to spend as much time in physically executing the process.

RPA has the ability to allow you to do things faster, better and more efficiently than humans in most cases. This can also lead to reduced production costs because you don’t have to pay people for performing tasks that machines in many cases can do just as effectively or even better. From 95.7% to 96.12%, regulatory compliance increased thanks to RPA.

7. Increased Productivity

RPA allows us to automate processes like: data collection, data preparation, data transformation and data analysis. These processes are tedious and take a long time to complete.

But with the help of RPA, it is possible to achieve these productivity increases. In addition, RPA gives you an opportunity to build new products while automating old ones. The more work that robots can do that humans can’t, the more productive your company will become. Turnaround time compliance increased thanks to RPA from 88.6% to 91.9%.

Risks Of Robotic Process Automation In Life Sciences

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As life sciences companies increasingly look to consumer feedback to enhanced data protection and business operations, they are finding that multiple systems are needed to manage this process effectively. While some companies have developed their own in-house systems, others are turning to third-party providers to help them manage this growing area of their business.

1. RPA Could Lead To A Shortage Of Human Labor

An RPA implementation team will be devoted to performing RPA tasks. As a result, this team will have less time available to perform other tasks. This could lead to a shortage of human labor that would result in job losses.

This risk is not likely since RPA has the potential to eliminate many repetitive tasks that consume too many resources and time and allow for employees to focus on higher-level tasks.

2. Less Employee Training And Knowledge Sharing

RPA does not require an individual RPA worker to understand every single task performed by an RPA worker. The RPA worker only needs to understand the job he/she is being asked to perform and how to operate that job. If a team is performing the task it may not be necessary for everyone to know all aspects of the job.

3. RPA Could Disrupt Current Business Processes

RPA could disrupt some current business processes if implemented improperly. The transition to RPA could be quite difficult and disruptive for employees who use the legacy systems, especially if they are not aware of what is happening behind the scenes.

The risk can be eliminated or reduced by performing pilot tests with a limited number of users before going live with RPA. This allows for the discovery of any potential risks.

4. Could Lead To More Mistakes And Errors

RPA can still be quite error-prone since it is a machine that is programmed by humans. Any mistake made will be repeated when the robot performs its tasks which could result in a disruption of business processes or even human safety.

This risk can be reduced by performing thorough testing before implementing RPA on a large scale as well as avoiding complex and highly manual tasks for RPA deployment.

5. Lack Of Know-How In RPA Could Impact Recruitment Efforts

Lack of know-how in using RPA may result in making incorrect decisions about how much time and resources should be devoted to its implementation. Employers could also lose valuable employees due to lack of training for new technologies or simply because these employees do not want to perform repetitive tasks. Employers should develop a long-term career plan for RPA implementation and use this as an opportunity to train new workers in the field.

6. RPA Is Still Relatively New Technology

There are many risks that come with implementing a relatively new technology in your company, such as lack of support, no regulatory compliance standards and even increased security risks. This risk can be eliminated by researching the market first before implementing RPA and then maintaining a close relationship with your provider during the initial phase.

7. RPA Can Be Used Inappropriately

Overuse of RPA could lead to poor quality control, lack of knowledge sharing and poor communication between employees. This risk can be eliminated by carefully choosing the tasks that will be automated by RPA and then prioritizing these tasks based on their importance to the organization.

8. RPA Can Potentially Misbehave In A Cyber-Attack Environment

RPA runs on software which can potentially be hacked or infected with malware if vulnerabilities are not protected against. This risk is increased by the fact that attackers are always looking for technical gaps in security to use for their own advantage.

Final Note

RPA is a technology that can be highly beneficial when it comes to automating processes in many industries like manufacturing, education and public administration. RPA has been widely used in many other industries like finance, healthcare and retail.

All of these sectors face challenges that can be addressed with the help of RPA but they all have one common goal. That is to use RPA to do things faster, better and more efficiently than humans. The process is still evolving so it won’t be long before we start seeing more benefits from the use of RPA.

Last Updated on October 6, 2023 by Priyanshi Sharma


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