How can we help Kiwis to enjoy the full health benefits from their prescribed medicines?
This was the key question that David Taylor, Managing Director and Founder of ZOOM Health found himself asking.
New Zealands biggest opportunity to improve health outcomes
In all his time in the healthcare industry, and in fact well before his time, David says the prescribing and dispensing of medicines in New Zealand has continued with very little change. Prescribers (e.g. doctors) assume their patients will take their prescription to a pharmacy, will wait for it to be filled, go home and then complete their course as prescribed. Both prescribers and pharmacists expect the patient to then remember to visit the pharmacy again to get their repeat prescription in time – and continue this process for as long as they need the medicine.
A story of thirds…
“It may surprise you that roughly one third of people don’t pick up their medicines – ever. Another third pick them up – but don’t take them correctly” he says. “This means that only a third of all patients pick up their medicines and take them as they should.”
How well a person takes their medicines is called medicines adherence. David says “improving medicines adherence is the single biggest opportunity to improve health outcomes in New Zealand, and indeed the world. Particularly for our large, and growing, number of disadvantaged people. People who are disadvantaged have higher rates of medicines non-adherence. For some people, it can be hard to get to the doctor, and hard to pick up their medicines from the pharmacy.”
Patient centric pharmacy service
In 2018 David launched ZOOM Health, which enables its associated company, ZOOM Pharmacy, to take its pharmacy service directly to the patient. By placing the individual patient at the heart of everything they do, David says each patient receives pharmacy care that is specific to them.
“Patients love this approach” he says, and the ZOOM service has proved disruptive in an industry that for decades has seen little if any innovation. David says their growth is testament to the strong desire of patients for a new patient centred, rather than clinician/pharmacy centred, healthcare service.
The old with the new
“One of the important things that we do is combining the use of new cutting edge technology in the form of robotics, with the old, that is, our pharmacists simply taking the time to talk to people on the phone. There’s a curious thing about the phone. People are much more at ease than they could be in a shop environment. There’s nobody else in the room, they’re talking to a pharmacist and they tend to be a lot more open. Our pharmacists are having fantastic conversations with patients around the correct use of their medicines.”
“There are all sorts of knock-on effects from people not taking the medicines correctly. If you take your medicine, you tend to be healthier, a lot healthier” David concludes.
David Taylor is the Founder & Managing Director of ZOOM Health (an associated company of ZOOM Pharmacy).