Insight
Why we built Phlo Connect

Katie Beaton

Product Lead

January 17, 2022
8 min read

As Phlo’s Product Lead, I have been lucky to help build and shape Phlo from conception to where it is today – an innovative digital pharmacy, offering NHS and private patients, a faster and easier way to order and manage their medication.

When we started building Phlo, we started with the why:

Patient health is too important to be hard to manage.

We focused on understanding existing patient journeys, pain points and frustrations with traditional pharmacies, to build an integrated, easy to manage, digital pharmacy service.  We launched with two products, our patient-facing, Phlo Digital Pharmacy app, and our internal pharmacy operating system. These products put the patient in control of requesting and ordering their NHS medication.  Our core goal was to make it as easy and convenient as possible for patients to order their medication and to deliver same day in our first same day hub location in London.  The Phlo Digital pharmacy app has been incredibly successful to date. We have opened a second pharmacy and same day delivery hub in Birmingham, delivered over 30,000 medication orders and serviced over 10,000 patients. We have a 4.9/5 star rating on Trustpilot, with our patients telling us how Phlo has been a “game-changer” when it comes to managing their healthcare.  

The Opportunity For Private Healthcare Partners

The Phlo patient app does not exist in isolation. We integrate with a complex architecture of healthcare systems and patient pathways.  Phlo receives NHS prescriptions, from NHS prescribers, using the NHS electronic prescribing service (EPS) and integrations with our leading Patient Medication Record (PMR) system, Titan PMR.  Phlo’s operating system is one system in an integrated pharmacy operation.  Being lucky enough to work with a Telemedicine industry leader, Babylon Health, early in 2020, we quickly realised that private healthcare providers did not have the benefit of an electronic prescription system when sending private prescriptions to pharmacies.  With the same focus we had on NHS patient pain points at the start of our journey, we extended our focus to private patients and prescribers and the pain points they face. These included disjointed patient journeys, poor patient communications from pharmacies and occasional faxing of prescriptions! We identified our next why:  

Providing healthcare (especially in a pandemic) is too important to be hard to manage.

COVID-19 has meant an accelerated move across healthcare to offer remote digital consultations and care.  Telemedicine is an incomplete service without a digital pharmacy that can accept prescriptions electronically and then deliver to a patient. Without Phlo, when a patient receives a prescription for treatment post-digital consultation, the patient usually needs to physically go to a pharmacy to collect it, the pharmacy may not have that medication in stock and the patient could be unaware of the cost of the medication until they reach the pharmacy. We extended our Phlo patient service to our private healthcare partners, building a private patient checkout experience and completing the private patient's digital consultation journey.

Working with our new and existing private partners in our product and service design workshops we set out core private prescribing requirements:

  • Sending prescriptions to Phlo needed to integrate with the systems their clinicians were using to prescribe.
  • Our prescribing partners needed realtime updates on their patients' orders.
  • Our pharmacy team needed prescriptions from our private partners to come directly into our pharmacy management system.  

We started building our API (Application Programming Interface) driven pharmacy infrastructure, Phlo Connect.  We have now launched our Phlo Connect prescribing API, allowing our healthcare partners to seamlessly plug into Phlo’s digital pharmacy infrastructure, and securely send digital prescriptions directly to Phlo. You can find out more about our API offering and access our technical documentation here.

We are already working with some of the UK’s leading telemedicine and private healthcare providers, including Babylon Health, HealthHero, The Dermatology Partnership and Leva Clinic, to name a few.  One of the best parts of my job is understanding the needs of all our private partners and working closely with their teams.  Building the ideal digital journey from their prescribers to Phlo to their patients. I am looking forward to helping more healthcare providers offer their patients an unparalleled digital prescribing and patient experience in the future.  

Find out more by getting in touch with our team today.

Written by

Katie Beaton

Product Lead

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