Consolidation of medicinal information in a central database

Deutscher Apotheker Verlag is the largest pharmaceutical publishing house in Germany. It provides pharmacies with scientific information and professional know-how. The new homeopathy database is an important part of a digitally transformed business model.

Business Needs

Pharmacies recognize the growing sales potential for complementary medicine. At the same time, there is a lack of detailed information on homeopathic treatments in leading merchandise management systems. This results in time-consuming, cumbersome information searches for pharmacists, such that a homeopathic consultation would only be possible with prior knowledge. Consequently, an increase in online research by pharmacies has been observed.

The biggest challenges were a heterogeneous database as well as a missing web database and a lack of technology for distributing data to the POS. There was also no central front-end for data maintenance, as well as a decentralized team representing different departments with inconsistent online experience and abilities.

Task

An online tool needed to be developed, which could suggest homeopathic medicines to pharmacists. It was essential that high-quality results be presented quickly and efficiently.

The use cases/suggestions were based on

  • Add-ons to synthetic drugs
  • Simple indications
  • Differentiated, homeopathic indications by a smart wizard
  • Direct searches for homeopathy

Added value for pharmacies was expected to thus be generated

  • Increased sales, through cross-selling and up-selling
  • Strengthening customer loyalty through information printed in-pharmacy
  • Better quality consultations
  • Increased efficiency thanks to shorter research times
  • Convenient back-end data aggregation and processing
  • Advanced training and knowledge building
  • Introduction of modern tools

Requirements

  • Fast data access/high performance
  • Customizable output based on pharmacy master data
  • Possible database connection via SQL
  • Data access via API
  • Web-based interface with password-protected login

Pimcore Solution

Working ​together ​with ​Deutschen ​Apotheker ​Verlag, ​the ​project ​was ​developed ​using ​the ​agile project ​management ​method ​Scrum.

Installation​ ​and​ ​Implementation​ ​PIM/MDM 

Pimcore ​was ​employed ​to ​ensure ​a ​consistent, ​redundancy-free ​and ​media-independent database, ​which ​has ​a ​finely ​customizable ​rights-role-supported ​back-end. ​The ​open ​source system ​provided ​a ​central ​PIM/MDM ​database ​for ​centralized ​management ​of ​master ​data ​and product ​information, ​with ​a ​flexible ​multi-domain ​data ​model ​and ​more ​than ​40 ​possible standard ​data ​types.

The ​DAM ​module, ​which ​was ​also ​integrated ​into ​Pimcore, ​makes ​it ​possible ​to ​manage ​any number ​of ​assets, ​in ​approximately ​100 ​different ​file ​formats, ​and ​to ​link ​them ​to ​related products.

The ​core ​element ​for ​the ​output ​of ​stored ​content ​is ​the ​powerful ​CMS ​engine. ​From ​here, ​end users ​can ​create ​and ​maintain ​optimized ​newsletters, ​campaign ​pages ​and/or ​extensive ​web platforms.

Additionally, ​data ​sources ​were ​connected ​via ​various ​interfaces ​to ​the ​Pimcore ​system. ​The data ​is ​centrally ​collected ​and ​enriched ​and ​sent ​to ​any ​number ​of ​different ​external distribution ​channels.

Automatic​ ​data​ ​processing 

Using ​the ​IFAP ​database, ​single ​medicinal ​remedies ​are ​linked ​directly ​to ​their ​appropriate variants. ​After ​importing ​the ​Access ​database, ​parts ​of ​the ​data ​were ​normalized. ​Thus, ​for example, ​redundancies ​of ​leading ​symptoms ​and ​underlying ​causes ​were ​consolidated. ​When synthetic ​products ​are ​imported, ​the ​ATC ​code ​is ​mapped. ​From ​the ​IFAP ​product ​data, individual ​product ​variants ​are ​created ​automatically ​if ​they ​are ​not ​yet ​available ​in ​the ​Pimcore system. ​A ​synonym ​database ​allows ​the ​linking ​of ​data ​from ​IFAP.

Manual processes 

A list of non-mapped products is automatically created for the editors during the import/update process. These products are then assigned manually. For this purpose, a unique layout was implemented for representing these unlinked products and/or their indications, without linking to a product or remedy. A simple notification system, via e-mail, informs users of completed import processes. Content managers do not have to maintain automatically imported products, but can manually add new products. After linking is complete, single remedies can be released manually for publication.

Export 

There are four use cases defined for a separate front-end:

  • Interaction with synthetic drugs
  • Simple indications
  • Differentiated homeopathic indications via a smart wizard
  • Direct search for homeopathy

Challenges/Lessons 

The challenges were in the so-called unstructured loose-leaf data, which was available only as text. This had to be structured and schematized. Pimcore enabled the administration of complex data structures and large amounts of data, while providing high performance access to it. The content management engine from Pimcore allowed the data to be transferred directly from the PIM to any digital channel. This allowed us not only to extend the information from the database to the front-end, but to continually add further publishing channels.

Business Results

The homeopathy database is an important proof of concept in Deutschen Apotheker Verlags’ digital transformation. A central PIM/MDM was the decisive factor in the optimal handling of the technical challenges at a time of of digital change, when new business opportunities can be developed off the existence of extensive databases.

The company’s employee acceptance of these digitization-driven technical changes increased with the introduction of a PIM/MDM system, as previous processes were optimized and the data enrichment and circulation workload significantly decreased. Employees immediately experienced the improvement a new system brought to their everyday work. Thanks to a user-centered approach, they were involved in the introduction process from the outset, and will thus have a direct influence on its future functionality.

Pimcore Gold Partner
Customer
  • Deutscher​ ​Apotheker​ ​Verlag
Solution Partner
Products Used
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