May 17, 2020

GSK and Schneider Electric partner up to improve sustainability efforts

Global healthcare
hospital supply chain
Catherine Sturman
3 min
pharmaceutical machine
Taking on some of the world’s biggest healthcare challenges, global healthcare company GSK have recently entered a new partnership with Schneider Elec...

Taking on some of the world’s biggest healthcare challenges, global healthcare company GSK have recently entered a new partnership with Schneider Electric, highlighting its mission to better manage online community GSK Supplier Exchange. The Supplier Exchange is a “members-only, non-competitive and free platform for GSK suppliers to engage directly with GSK, experts and peers to build trust and improve environmental performance,” according to 2degreesnetwork.

The move will enable vital information to be passed to healthcare suppliers, embedding essential tools to improve environmental performance, through energy, water and waste management.

The company has a rich history, with the GlaxoWellcome plc and SmithKline Beecham plc merger in the early 2000s. The company is now 1st in the Access to Medicine Index, and is third in the Pharmaceutical sector Dow Jones Sustainability Index score for economic, environmental and social performance. With over £1.61 billion generated in 2016, GSK researches, develops and manufactures essential medicines, vaccines and pharmaceutical products, with 87 manufacturing sites and research centres worldwide.

Now growing in the Asia Pacific region, the company is a health leader, developing drugs for a number of acute and chronic conditions and. In 2016 alone, the company invested £2.6 billion into the search for new pharmaceutical medicines, and distributed more than 833 million doses of vaccines around the world.

The company’s Supplier Exchange currently supports over 350 suppliers, where the company are increasing its efforts to improve sustainability and energy efficiency, with over 50 percent of emissions related to the company’s supply chain strategies. This initiative builds on a 14-year partnership between GSK and Schneider Electric, as well as corporate partnerships with over 3,000 scientific and academic partners.

Schneider Electric will serve as the community manager for the GSK Supplier Exchange, which has more than 700 members. The Exchange delivers informative content, and provides a forum for collaboration and networking, helping accelerate sustainability and efficiency projects.

GSK has set ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions. The company is targeting a carbon-neutral value chain by 2050 and plans to cut emissions 25 percent by 2020 to start. With more than 50 percent of emissions tied to purchased materials and services, GSK recognized the need to support its supplier network in reducing its carbon footprint.

"GSK recognizes that reducing our carbon footprint requires action across our entire value chain," said Matt Wilson, Head of the Environmental Sustainability Centre of Excellence at GSK.

"We found that many of our suppliers may not be entirely sure where to start when it comes to identifying resource conservation opportunities. We have partnered with Schneider Electric to develop sustainability expertise that will help our suppliers expand their knowledge on sustainability topics and practical solutions."

Launched in 2014, the Exchange is a members-only online community that helps suppliers create positive and tangible environmental change. Schneider Electric will create and curate content for the Supplier Exchange including webinars, case studies, newsletters and Q&As — covering topics from sustainability reporting to renewable energy opportunities.

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Jun 23, 2021

NHSX releases new data plans, experts call for transparency

3 min
NHSX has published a new strategy for patient data sharing, with experts calling for transparency

Patients in England will get "greater control" over their health and care data according to new proposals set out by the government. 

In a new draft strategy called "Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data", Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says that more effective use of data will deliver better patient-focused care. "This strategy seeks to put people in control of their own data, while supporting the NHS in creating a modernised system fit for the 21st century which puts patients and staff in pole position." 

Under the new plans people will be able to access their medical records from different parts of the health system through different applications, to access test results, medication lists, procedures and care plans. 

The strategy, published by NHSX, the government department that sets policies for the use of technology within the NHS, follows delays to the creation of a central database of patient records amid concerns over data sharing and a lack of transparency, with critics saying that only a small proportion of the public were made aware of the plans and the choice to opt out. 

Kevin Curran,  senior member of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Professor of Cybersecurity at the University of Ulster, says that moving health records online raises concerns. "The move to an online app does seem like a natural progression, however there is a difference between having computerised records within our healthcare IT infrastructure and having those records reside on a public facing server. 

"Having records inhouse limits the range and type of access – it's far more difficult for remote hackers" Curran said. "There are techniques that healthcare organisations can use to reduce the risk of future data breaches. One way is to make it ‘opt in’, so patients have the choice to decide whether their medical information is moved to a public facing service so that they can access it. 

"However, those who do not opt in or download the app instead should have their records hosted in a non-public-facing cloud service. This way, if a data breach does occur, those who never used the app, or not wanted to, will not have had their details released." 

The new strategy has been welcomed by some, with an emphasis on the need for transparency.  Adam Steventon, Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, said: "Health data has played a critical role in the last year – from tracking COVID-19 outbreaks and developing treatments, to getting people booked in for their vaccines. It is critical that the use of data is accelerated if the NHS is to tackle the backlog of care and address the massive health challenges facing the country. 

"It is particularly positive that the government has committed to building analytical and data science capability in the NHS and to improving data on social care. To ensure the full potential of data can be realised, the government must ensure transparency on how it will be used and the rights and options people have, as well as engaging with the public and health care professionals to build trust and show people how their data can improve the NHS and save lives." 

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