Pharmacies have gone through significant digital transformation in recent years. Digitalization activities have mainly focused on the interface between the doctor, insurance players and the pharmacy, in particular on digital prescriptions. However, the interaction between the patient and the pharmacist, has remained largely unchanged: the patient walks into a pharmacy, takes a queuing number, waits for their turn, finally gets the medicine, pays for it and goes home. An often cumbersome and slow process.
Remomedi’s mission is to bring the pharmacy visit to the digital age. It enables customers to interact with the pharmacy from any place. Remomedi, lead by Kari Paukkeri, was founded in the spring of 2017 having begun as a project started two-three years earlier by the Association of Finnish Pharmacies. In late 2018 Remomedi started its commercial business in Finland. At the moment the company has more than 60 pharmacies as it’s customer and 35 pharmacy owners as investors.
Following the companies funding round lead by Innovestor in Q3/2019, Remomedi’s export activities are currently kicking off with pilots for two Norwegian pharmacy chains commencing in early 2020, as well as some early projects in Sweden.
“The pharmacy business varies by country”, remarks Paukkeri and continues: “In Finland and for example Denmark one pharmacist can legally own only a couple of outlets. Sweden and Norway, on the other hand, have no such restrictions. As a consequence, there are large pharmacy chains operating in both markets.”
The pharmacy industry is heavily regulated. Privacy is naturally extremely important when dealing with health data and prescriptions. This has set certain demands on Remomedi’s remote application, demands which the company has dealt with in a safe way for consumes to do business with the pharmacy while still providing a pleasant user experience. “Our slogan is: like you were in the pharmacy!”, says Paukkeri.
Utilizing the Click & Collect trend
Remomedi also has another production line in addition to their remote interaction application: automatic pick-up stations. Various automated pick-up stations are already provided by courier services in Finland. However, delivering medicine requires specific circumstances, which cannot be guaranteed by ordinary pick-up stations. For example the temperature of certain medicine is closely regulated.
“The temperatures for storing medicines are globally standardized. The manufacturer informs the temperature in which the medication is supposed to be stored. As far as we know, we have the only pick-up station in Europe optimized for medicine”, Paukkeri estimates.
With the raised funding, the company is now developing new products and going international. And most importantly, its own business is growing nicely: during the fall of 2019, its monthly sales doubled.
“You might think that strict regulations are barriers for doing business. However, we have managed to turn them into our advantages. We know the regulations well and are able to implement our products so that they comply with all requirements. In addition, we do all this without compromising the user experience. Regulations are a significant obstacles for newcomers entering the market”, Paukkeri sums up.
Text by Santtu Toivonen