Pharmacists, the time is now

Pharmacies are uniquely positioned to play a major role in the transformation of healthcare, due to their accessibility and medication knowledge.

In January 2020, we decided to start Salvus Health on a mission to empower people to control their health, by making medical innovations more accessible. We believe we are at the right moment to take a major step forward due to the following factors:

Healthcare is finally leaving the building, 10 years after the article "Software is eating the world" was written by Marc Andreessen, a famous entrepreneur and Silicon Valley investor, describing why and how technology was going to transform industries in the following decade,  today we can see that the realities of these predictions, the largest bookseller being Amazon, the largest video service provider Netflix, and even in the traditional car manufacturing industry, Tesla became the most valued car company in 2020 - ahead of GM and Volkswagen Group, etc.
However, what about healthcare? It seems like it has been a tough cookie to crack so far, but finally, there are some signs that we might be at a turning point:
  • Industry changes - traditional silos have started to dissolve from stakeholders - insurers, payers and medtech companies, while new entrants are getting into the market.
  • Changing consumer expectations - increased pressure and demands from patients, expecting more "value for money" and a better experience. Demographic shifts are also pushing for home services.
  • New technologies - such as artificial intelligence and big data are starting to be used in more use cases and new treatments, not just physical but also digital.
  • Who and how is also going to change based on the previous point, training in the use of the new technologies will also be a fundamental part of the education of healthcare providers, as when radiologist appeared after the development of X-ray technologies.
We believe that overall, for pharmacists these changes can represent a unique opportunity to take a step forward in the provision of new accessible services to a broader market.
Second, since the start of the pandemic the demand for telemedicine services has increased exponentially and has accelerated by an order of 5 to 10 years its adoption. (US Medicare - from 11.000 sessions per week to 650.000).
  • The first use case for telemedicine was in the mid 20th century, when radios were used to provide medical advice to ships. But many more have been added during the last 30 years, including mental health and chronic disease monitoring. And the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this as well as the regulation in place.
  • There are clear benefits, like lower costs and convenience, but also it can't cover everything. Reliable internet access and literacy from both the patients and doctors are required.
Third, an important concept "whole-person care" is becoming a new reality offered by "new players" entering into the market, being defined as the end-to-end care across a spectrum of needs for both one-self and the family.
  • Value and evidence-based with real time data from connected devices, and informative patient-provider interactions.
  • It is a hybrid model, combining traditional in-person healthcare visits with virtual care, expanding the capabilities and capacity of the health systems.
  • Technology plus human interaction allows for highly personalized, efficient and convenient experiences.
Integrating the pharmacy's value proposition in such journeys and collaborating in specific use cases like medication review can have a positive impact for all parties involved. We are convinced that community pharmacies have a unique position in the healthcare ecosystem to play a major role in the transformation of the industry, as its core values, the accessibility of the store and the medication knowledge of the pharmacists, enable them to offer preventive and pharmaceutical care services to citizens, in collaboration with the medical team.
Finally, there are some important trends that can have an impact not just from healthcare, but retail experiences that condition the expectations from patients. E.g. Coolblue store. There is a clear opportunity for providing new services at the pharmacy and playing an important role in the transformation of the healthcare industry, but it will also require some changes to improve the digital - physical personalized experiences.



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