In this interview, Phlo’s Superintendent Pharmacist Prabjit Jassal talks about the ins and outs of being a pharmacist at the forefront of the digital health sector. Prab talks about becoming a pharmacist, making the leap into the tech industry, the dynamics of working for a digital pharmacy like Phlo and where the industry is heading in the future.
Tell us a bit about your role and Phlo. When did you join, what is your position and what does it entail?
I joined Phlo Digital Pharmacy in February 2019 and I am the Superintendent Pharmacist. My position involves ensuring that Phlo adheres to all pharmacy regulations, that we are operationally safe, and our patients experience a superior service.
What made you decide to become a pharmacist?
I’ve always enjoyed science classes growing up, and my father actually helped guide me to a pathway into pharmacy. My father worked in a factory the majority of his life and had very little sociable hours. He was determined for his children to find stable jobs and careers that involved having a life beyond work.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’m working for an online pharmacy for the first time in my 12 years as a pharmacist. Overall, it’s amazing to get to see how much time, effort and determination is required to get a company off the ground. I’ve had to learn skills and complete courses I once thought were beyond my capabilities. I can’t see myself ever regretting the decision to take the leap from the comfort of my previous, more conventional pharmacy role, to working for Phlo, an online digital pharmacy.
Besides that, I also really enjoy working with people: whether it be patients, staff or peers, I thoroughly thrive in a people-focused environment.
What is a crucial aspect required for succeed in the digital health landscape?
It’s a tightly regulated industry and rightly so. You must be committed to innovation and continuous improvement to ultimately help people manage their health more easily. To improve your service, your approach must be methodical at all times, and furthermore, you must be determined to ensure safe and effective processes are implemented.
Can you share an interesting event story from your career so far?
Before working for Phlo, when I was still working in a traditional pharmacy,I received a late call one night from an elderly patient who was unable to pick up their prescription and had become very anxious because of this. He had been advised to take this medication regularly, and he was adamant that he would suffer if he missed a dose. After taking his address, I realised I could deliver his medication to him personally, as I would pass by his location on my commute home. He was delighted by this, and so was I, especially when I realised that he was dependent on a walking stick and lived in a flat 2 stories up.
What makes Phlo different?
Phlo digital pharmacy provides same-day, real-time delivery to patients when and where patients need them. This offering is something no other digital pharmacy does at the moment. As a Phlo patient, you’re able to select a time slot and have your medication delivered that very day. You can track it in real-time on the map as it travels to you. Our service is truly reliable, and most importantly, it's predictable. This is crucial for a digital pharmacy. Patients don’t want to be in a position where you can’t rely on your pharmacy or you don’t know exactly when your medication is going to arrive. We work really hard to ensure predictability and reliability when patients use the Phlo service.
If you could make one change to the health/pharmacy sector, what would it be?
Pharmacists nowadays are over worked and share many responsibilities with GPs. But, as a whole, we’re less incentivised and we receive less recognition for our ever-increasing responsibilities. Personally, I would lessen the high demands currently being placed on pharmacists.
Luckily, this change is already well on its way, and Phlo is part of that. We’re seeing a shift towards digital automation in all areas of society, and pharmacy is no different. The automation of the pharmacy sector is inevitable, and ultimately it will be beneficial for the profession. Automatic dispensing machinery will lessen the dispensing workload of a pharmacist, which currently represents the bulk of their responsibilities. Pharmacists will be able to branch out and specialise in other aspects of the profession.
What motivates you and what are your core values?
I’m motivated by individuals who go above and beyond to help others. Phlo has many such people throughout the company. I believe we are going to be successful, simply due to the fact that our team is comprised of people that care beyond expectations and put Phlo first. These are the values of a successful company, and I share these values.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Football’s definitely my main passion. I’ve been playing amateur football for 16 years now and played for a local club for 6 years before that. I’m getting up there in age however, most players are at least 10 years younger than me nowadays, but I’m keen to keep myself in shape, keep up and contribute to the season for as long as my legs and my family let me. I have had a passion for travelling for as long as I can remember. I’ve visited India a number of times, and I’ve also visited parts of the USA, Thailand, Australia and Europe. As my family have grown, we’ve started to do more trips in and around the UK too.