In part 2 of this interview with Drug Topics®, Angela Fusaro MD, MBA, CEO and cofounder of Physician 360, a telemedicine program that connects patients to health care providers, discusses how independent pharmacies can use telemedicine to play an expanded role in patient care while competing with larger chains and online pharmacies.
Drug Topics®: “You mentioned equity, how have you seen [Physician 360] help the small, independent pharmacist compete with the larger chain pharmacies?”
Dr. Fusaro: “I see how [pharmacists] are dealing with a lot of different pressures, to your point, competition from online pharmacy programs, competition from Amazon, competition from large retailers, and I feel really proud that what we’ve built allows them to offer the exact same clinical services to their communities as one of their alternatives. But it’s in a model that leverages technology and because of that it’s a fraction of the cost, right? So, the average cost to build a brick-and-mortar clinic in your pharmacy is about $850,000 dollars and most independent pharmacists don’t have resources that deep and so this gives them a way to stay relevant, offer more services beyond prescription fulfillment, create customer loyalty, really rebrand themselves as a one-stop-shop, drive new traffic that didn’t exist before, and like I said, all at a fraction of the cost.”
Drug Topics®: “That’s wonderful. I remember you saying the perception and perspective on telemedicine has shifted in the last year. Can you say a bit about how you think health care is changing overall with telemedicine?”
Dr. Fusaro: “I think we will continue to see in health care in every way a decentralization of care and treatment and I think what goes along with that is putting patients in the driver’s seat of their healthcare. So, we’re giving patients more opportunity to drive the types of conditions they get treated for and what treatment even looks like.”
Drug Topics®: “What would you say is the biggest take away or significant key point you want audiences to know regarding telemedicine and Physician 360?”
Dr. Fusaro: “I think, as we said, telemedicine is here to stay. If you haven’t already tried it, I mean, at this point, the percentage of people who haven’t tried it in any capacity is shrinking, but if you haven’t, you know, as with anything in life, it’s easier to do something when you’re prepared for it, so don’t wait until you have an urgent condition, find a platform that you believe in, create an account, many of these platforms, just like ours, have features now that are not even for urgent conditions. So, for example, we have a vaccine portal. Go ahead and upload your vaccine card. Just get familiar with the culture of getting care through telemedicine, through a software platform. And then as far as Physician 360, I think it’s important to recognize that not every telemedicine platform is created equal, each of them is going to shine in a different way, and I feel really confident that we have created a model that is going to shine especially in the setting of community pharmacy.”
Drug Topics®: “Absolutely, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much for joining me today and speaking to me about this topic.”