DigitalHealth.London’s SME of the Week is Accelerator Launchpad company Phlo. Founded by Nadeem Sarwar, Phlo is a digital pharmacy operating throughout England with a focus on London. The pharmacy delivery app seamlessly integrates with the NHS to deliver repeat and acute medication with their unique service of same day, real time delivery at any location in London thus ensuring patients can isolate with access to the medication they require.
Throughout London, Phlo offers an on-demand, same-day service with an average delivery time of less than two hours. Patients are able to track their medication in real-time and can track delivery on a live map within the app, reassuring them at each stage of the order process. Outside of London, patients are still able to sign up for Phlo and get their prescription delivered – the only difference being that deliveries be made using next day Royal Mail delivery.
We recently spoke to Phlo’s Pharmacy Operations Manager Pritesh Dodhia about how the business is adapting and stepping up to the challenges posed by COVID-19…:
“I qualified as a pharmacist in 2013 and have worked in various types of pharmacy settings from traditional community pharmacists to larger groups to private practice. I have always loved science and learning about why things work the way they do – this was especially true of medicines. How medicines work is an area I find fascinating, combine that with being able to help people made being a pharmacist the perfect career option.
After completing an MBA at Surrey University, I was offered the role of Pharmacy Operations Manager at Phlo Digital Pharmacy. I was excited by Phlo’s vision of a hyperlocal pharmacy delivery service enabled by a patient facing app.
In traditional pharmacies patients spend a lot of time organising their medication, including time on the phone or visiting a pharmacy to request their medication, time chasing up their prescriptions and then time physically going to pick up prescriptions.
At Phlo the whole process is made much simpler. Patients can do all this from the comfort of their own home, on their commute or even during their lunch break with live updates through the whole process. This I believe can help reduce anxiety as the patient is kept up to date throughout.
The most enjoyable part about my job is the satisfaction of helping people. What might seem like a little change can have a big positive impact. This can be from helping patients with their medication and reviewing their dose to ensure it is safe, to talking to patients about their health and providing relevant advice to make them more committed to their health.
When I joined Phlo I had envisaged that our service would make accessing prescriptions for those who need them easier. No-one could predict the spread of COVID-19 and the ensuing global pandemic which we find ourselves in today. Phlo has seen significant growth in patient demand as people look for different ways to continue receiving their prescriptions.
Those who receive regular prescriptions are increasingly worried about visiting pharmacies to pick up their prescriptions whilst at the same time adhering to social distancing rules and self-isolation guidance. Simply put patients shouldn’t need to choose between accessing medication and following the government’s vital guidance. Some community pharmacists will be able to deliver however their systems are not really set up for this type of service. It is up to online pharmacies like Phlo to help ease the burden on our already ready stretched sector and we are ready to do so.
Members of the public have been signing up their parents, those most vulnerable to the spread of the disease as well as patients looking to limit their journeys outside. Phlo is actively helping to reduce external pressures on the NHS by encouraging patients to use our service and have their medication delivered to their doorstep. This will help patients protect themselves by adhering to the social distancing measures implemented by the UK Government to avoid exposure and spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.
I’ve been blown away by the feedback we’ve had from our patients about how the service has helped them and reduced their anxiety levels in a very uncertain time. This is why I became a pharmacist; to help people and provide them with the best care possible. In these uncertain times it is more important than ever that everyone in the sector works collaboratively to ensure patients continue to receive their prescriptions in a safe and timely manner. Phlo stands ready to play its role in this crisis.”
For more information about Phlo or to sign up to the app, head to www.wearephlo.com