New Digital Pharmacy Setting Up Shop in Liverpool, Using Robots to Fulfill Prescriptions

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( — September 26, 2018) — Interesting developments ahead for Liverpool residents suffering from chronic disease, as Now Healthcare reveals plans to launch a robotic-powered pharmacy, called Now Pharmacy.

Now Healthcare Moves into the Pharmacy Industry

In an effort to kickstart the “digital pharmacy” industry, Now Healthcare has sought and received regulatory approval from the NHS to develop its ambitious idea. The company is already a big name in the telehealth sector in the UK, as it partnered up with insurance company Aviva last April in order to provide clients with a digital GP system through the Aviva Digital GP app. The system was available in 12 languages and offered options across over 1,000 GPs that enabled patients to receive consultation and diagnoses over video and live chat. Now Healthcare, which was founded as a startup in 2014 with the objective of blending healthcare services and artificial intelligence, serves more than 15 million patients in the UK suffering from chronic conditions. With the Now Patient services, they can get prescriptions fulfilled remotely and delivered to their door.

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Equipped with this extensive experience in remote healthcare services, the company is now moving into uncharted territory by investing £1.5 million into opening a digital pharmacy – after having received a £4 million investment 12 months ago from Medicash, a top health insurance company. The new dispensary will allow patients to get their medication through NHS repeat prescription brought straight to their homes. The pharmacy, which is set to use cutting-edge robotics tech to operate, will be able to process roughly 500,000 prescriptions monthly. Patients willing to benefit from the new system will need to download the Now Patient app, which saw 100,000 downloads in the span of three months, and designate the Now service as their pharmacy with NHS.

New Digital Pharmacy Aims to Help Underserved Liverpool Chronic Patients

Despite its positive experience managing the GP and prescription app, Now will need to pay extra attention to potential cybersecurity risks that come with operating a digital health service, establishing human supervision at all stages to ensure delivery of the right medication and putting cybersecurity safeguards like a WAF in place. A WAF can help protect online applications such as log-in pages that doctors and patients will use on the service from attacks that deny services and compromise personal data, securing smooth and uninterrupted access and protecting sensitive information. This is particularly crucial when it considers online applications that can give access to sensitive personal details like health data.

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The new digital pharmacy is expected to have a positive impact on Liverpool residents as a whole, as it will create jobs and streamline access to medication. It is also hoped that it will greatly benefit chronic patients that live in the most underserved areas of the city, where many community pharmacies had closed down in recent years. This has made getting the right medication on time difficult for many Liverpool patients, who hope that the new digital pharmacy will provide a solution to the problem. Having been granted approval by the NHS, Now is also only one of two digital healthcare providers, along with Babylon Health, that have successfully passed the Quality Care Commission inspection.

By launching the robotic pharmacy alongside their suite of healthcare services, Now Healthcare hopes to not only help patients but also relieve some of the burden that falls on the overworked British healthcare system.