We sat down with our newest Phlo Connect colleague, Miraj Patel, who has joined us as Business Development Manager. We find out what makes him tick, and why his diverse career background meant he was the perfect fit for Phlo Connect. We also ask him for his insights on the big-ticket healthtech topics around the future of healthcare, technology and patient demand.
I navigated through the education cycle down the more “traditional route.” I was fortunate enough to attend a great school, and progress toward completing a degree in Pharmacy with a leading university. Flash forward to 2010, I was now working as a qualified pharmacist with a retail supermarket chain. I climbed the ranks and went on to look after multiple stores in the region, opening new pharmacies as the company expanded, and leading pharmacy services to a national level. Yet, with every new challenge I took on, I struggled to find a sense of fulfilment.
That took me onto the next chapter of my working life; exploring my entrepreneurial spark. I embarked upon this journey starting with a role in a Las Vegas based events company. I had come to meet the owner after a few trips to Vegas and took on a role as Head of Operations for the UK. I loved every second of it, but now the next logical step was starting my own business. I always had this idea to improve the recruitment process across the healthcare industry. I sought to launch a healthtech where workers could apply for, and book work on the go. A platform where healthcare institutions could find workers through an online marketplace matching their requirements to the right workers. This idea became a reality back in 2013 and the company grew to over 6000 workers and 6000+ pharmacies across the UK. We were going strong and making a real impact to people's lives - until the dreaded “C word” hit. As with many, our business was impacted, and we had to make the unfortunate decision to step away.
I then took to launching a YouTube channel where I could share my experiences with others, in the hope they could improve their prospects, and shed a light on what opportunities are out there if you just look. I decided to take my own advice; it was time to get back on the job search (and soul search). This is where I came across Phlo Connect (part of the Phlo Digital Pharmacy family) and here we are today!
Taking the next step in your career is a daunting process. I never really wanted to settle, nor view my ambitions as unrealistic or unattainable. I was blessed with great opportunities prior and wanted to make the right choice moving forward. I could only add great value to an organisation I saw immense value in. That is where Phlo Connect came in.
I have always loved innovation and technology. As you might be able to tell, I also have a soft spot for healthcare and social impact. Phlo Connect’s vision really inspired me! Our healthcare system in the UK is heavily fragmented with a blend of NHS and private healthcare providers, of whom have not yet realised the full capabilities of implementing technology to better service patient needs. Phlo Connect has some amazing talent in the team; collectively working to positively disrupt the healthcare sector.
What really pushed it over the finish line, however, are the people. The team are all friendly, welcoming and open to exploring new ideas. I could see that Phlo Connect really put a lot of work into developing the company culture. This really attracted me to work for Phlo Connect.
Whilst healthcare cannot replace the face-to-face clinician-patient interaction in its entirety, it can enhance their service offerings with technology. I feel that the COVID impact really changed how people view healthcare. Patients want to take ownership of their conditions to better manage their care and pre-empt issues in the future. Patients will seek out self-diagnostic kits, devices and software that empower them to do this. They are currently, and will continue to, move their care requirements to private entities, where they see a greater value in time spent to understand their needs.
Healthcare providers want to work more collaboratively across healthcare with varying organisations to better treat their patients holistically. Healthcare institutions are also inundated with increasing patient numbers, of which cannot be given the full attention they seek to provide, due to inefficient processes.
Technology is already arising to meet these new objectives. I foresee a future where there is more cross-collaboration through technology to improve the patient experience. This is a vision Phlo Connect is already working towards; partnering with private healthcare partners to make the prescribing process and medication fulfilment requirements easier, via digital innovations.
Patient choice is especially important. Patients need to feel they can select the providers who can best manage their conditions and support them. Luckily, we are quite fortunate to have an array of healthcare providers in the UK, from NHS to private to independent clinics. The issue however lies in patients being aware of all the options available to them. Many by nature, will choose to visit a GP or hospital as their first point of call. They would then rely on those entities to give them information on other providers that could better manage their care. Whilst specific patient orientated factors such as location, income and previous experiences may drive their decisions, there is also a great deal healthcare providers can do to encourage choice.
Healthcare providers who are seen to be more available and accessible are desirable. If a provider can give continuous care and scale with increasing demand, they are likely to attract more patients. Providers who also have a collective team focusing on specific conditions pique a prospective patient’s interest. Patients want to believe their chosen provider is working solely in the interest of treating their condition(s), and not distracted by a wide variety of patients with differing ailments.
Finally, healthcare providers who cater to socio-economic factors and changing technologies are more likely to attract patients of all demographics. Providers who both welcome and support diversity and inclusion with their patients are highly regarded. More so, people want the simplest, safest, and most efficient service. The rise of the digital era has given the Gen Z and Millennial culture the notion that they can receive the right care easily, and their medication quickly. We cannot disagree with that.
I envision Phlo Connect becoming a one stop shop to private healthcare partners, allowing them to remove barriers which inhibit them being able to manage their time and service their patients more effectively. Phlo Connect is well on its way to developing a suite of products centred around electronic prescription generation, independent prescribing, patient management systems and medication delivery. Whilst there are great technical advances emerging in this sector, many focus on tackling a singular issue. Phlo Connect is uniquely positioned to enhance the full end-to-end digital care pathways, linking the patient and clinician via full integration.
For myself, my ambition lies in supporting the wider team to meet these objectives the best I can. I hope to become a conduit between healthcare partners and Phlo Connect, working collaboratively with our partners to create real-utility products that they want.
A typical working day for me encompasses building relationships with new partners as well as strengthening relationships with our existing partners. Most of my time is centred around understanding their needs so that Phlo Connect can become a trusted and valued extension of their business growth. Beyond this, I work alongside an array of departments in the Phlo Connect team to develop innovative ideas and processes that evolve our product suite.
Schedule a call with me to discover more about Phlo Connect and how we can work together to create integrated digital pathways for your clinicians and patients. Start the conversation.