Knowledge management (KM) has been a recognized discipline in other sectors for over 20 years, but it has taken a long time for the biopharmaceutical business to debate and formalize it. When the ICH guideline paper Pharmaceutical Quality System: Q10 was published in 2008, it highlighted knowledge management as a major enabler of a pharmaceutical quality system (PQS). Despite this, there hasn’t been much research or benchmarking done on knowledge management and its use in the pharmaceutical sector. A brief insight on knowledge management in the pharmaceutical sector is described in this whitepaper.
Knowledge management in the Pharma Industry
The pharmaceutical industry is grappling with a slew of critical business problems, including how to enhance operational excellence in product time-to-market and broad regulatory compliance. A lot of knowledge is owned, produced and manipulated by these entities. Regulatory scrutiny is being applied to the pharmaceutical sector across the world and across the board, particularly in clinical operations, quality control activities, drug safety reporting and manufacturing operations. As a result of these investigations, businesses have been punished and, in certain circumstances, have been prohibited from marketing medications. Inspections have gotten more stringent and pharmaceutical companies of all sizes, large and small, are preparing to be compliant in all areas imaginable. As a result, organizations have begun to place a greater emphasis on reducing risks through the installation of robust management controls.
Collaborative systems, content management systems and learning management systems are examples of KMS technologies that help research teams share their expertise, particularly when it comes to regulatory compliance. Researchers may quickly complete repetitious work using these tools. By far, technological tools, like KMS, have aided in the cooperation and administration of researchers inside the company.
Given the problems that R&D firms confront today, the current research environment necessitates work divided over multiple distant project teams, strict timeframes, coordination of complicated and large-scale activities and team collaboration. Such stringent criteria drove the need for a wide range of technologies to harness an organization’s intellectual resources to new heights. All pharmaceutical companies operate in groups and it is inevitable that they will have to collaborate. As businesses demand a multi-dimensional approach, the number and breadth of team cooperation have risen quickly in pharmaceutical research and development.
Scope of Knowledge Management in Pharmaceutical Industry
The extension of knowledge management beyond the 20th-century notion of KM as the organization’s knowledge is another major development. Knowledge management is increasingly seen as ideally encompassing the entire spectrum of information and knowledge likely to be useful to an organisation, including knowledge originating in the scientific and scholarly community, the traditional domain of the library world and knowledge originating from vendors, suppliers, customers and so on. Knowledge management, in this view, involves both environmental scanning and competitive intelligence.
A knowledge management (KM) framework facilitates the effective and successful implementation of a clinical quality management system by improving information collection, sharing, application and retention in clinical development (QMS). The objective of knowledge management is to improve organizational performance by providing the appropriate information to the appropriate people at the appropriate time. Although the principles of knowledge management have been available for decades, they have yet to be fully implemented in the clinical development sector. Implementing a systematic method and plan for managing information may help you make more timely and informed decisions, improve quality and efficiency and eventually help you bring innovative goods to patients.
Implementation of Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry
For every (bio)pharmaceutical firm, knowledge management is unquestionably one of the most critical systems. Knowledge management serves as a key link between other management subsystems like learning and development, information management, project management and structured literature from an operations standpoint. Employee learning and development, teamwork, a knowledge-friendly culture and infrastructure (organizational technology, information systems) are all important aspects of KM’s success.
However, there are both technological and cultural hurdles to effective adoption at the moment. The storage, organization and access difficulties are the technological obstacles. This could be addressed by a codification strategy for knowledge management, which focuses on creating a comprehensive repository of codified knowledge, such as an electronic document management system (EDMS), that can be made available for reuse and connects the knowledge database to system users via a web-based interface. This strategy requires integration across disparate systems with good master data management, well-designed information architecture, effective indexing with metadata, application of user-friendly analytical tools and social-type communication systems with proper access privilege and confidentiality training as the amount of data grows.
This emphasizes the significance of the personalized knowledge management approach, which strives to succeed in one-on-one communication and knowledge contribution through team cooperation. Systems for electronic coordination across time and place (e.g., group decision support systems, electronic meeting rooms, videoconferencing, chat rooms, groupware email) and groupware for searching and retrieving organizational knowledge can help with this strategy.
Opportunities in the System
The relevance of knowledge management has been explicitly positioned as one of two major enablers essential for the successful deployment of an efficient pharmaceutical quality system since 2008 when ICH Q10 was published. In the following years, several organizations have embarked on a serious effort to manage the knowledge that has been entrusted to them. These prospects, however, come with a lot of pressure to develop blockbuster medications, lower costs to compete with generic alternatives and at the very least maintain shareholder value. There are also growing regulatory concerns, major branding difficulties, imminent patent expirations and short-term earnings, rising R&D and operational expenses and the increased complexity in research data that comes with information overload.
For the pharmaceutical business, the continuing transition from a paper-based to an electronic-based world has been both a benefit and a burden. On the one hand, the Internet has made a large wealth of external knowledge and research data accessible that was previously unavailable. However, there is a big disadvantage in that there is a lot more data to find, keep and manage.