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All-Encompassing Virtual Platform Aims to Disrupt Canada’s Pharmacy Industry

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The Canadian healthcare system and the services that it dispenses are often lauded by citizens of other countries around the world. Few other societies are privileged with the same quality of assistance and treatment and availability of critical medicines and prescriptions as Canadians. It has served for many years as one of the country’s foundational pillars and a significant reason scores of people the world over consider Canada as their destination of choice when seeking a higher quality of life for themselves and their families.

The Canadian government’s ongoing commitment to reach as many people as possible across the country in an effort to provide them with the services they require has been evident throughout its history and has set and secured the standards by which we have all become accustomed.

And today, as we continue to advance further into an age of digitization, innovative thinkers like Karim Nassar, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Mednow.ca, are helping to support that commitment, extending the accessibility to, and convenience of, pharmacy care for Canadians.

Digitization of Pharmacy Care

Karim Nassar
Karim Nassar

Launched in January of this year, Mednow.ca is an online fulfillment and home delivery provider of pharmacy healthcare services. Available online and through a mobile app, or by contacting a national call centre, patients are able to order their prescriptions and medications and other over the counter pharmacy items for fast and secure home delivery. With presence currently in British Columbia and Ontario, which is supported by the online company’s pharmacy centres in Vancouver and Toronto, the concept and service is gaining momentum with customers and helping to revolutionize the way healthcare is provided to Canadian patients. It’s a service that was lacking in the digital space until recently, Nassar points out. And it’s a way by which he believes Mednow.ca can serve to broaden the country’s healthcare reach by making pharmacy needs available through a digital channel.

“For pharmacy care to be effective it has to be accessible,” he asserts. “By leveraging digital technology, we’ve been able to extend the accessibility of pharmacy care for our patients. But we aren’t simply a fulfillment centre or home delivery service. We always put the needs and care of the patient first, understanding that a service-first approach is the underlying principal to everything a great local pharmacy does for its patrons. Mednow is essentially a virtualization of the service-first community pharmacy. And because it’s online, it helps provide even more ease and convenience for the customer and an extremely effective way for many to fulfill their pharmacy care needs.”

Accessing the Mednow service is as easy as visiting its website, or downloading the mobile app, and signing up. Mednow takes care of everything else, including the transferral of current prescriptions and other medical information from your most recently used pharmacy or by contacting your doctor directly, as well as the fast and secure delivery of prescriptions and other pharmacy items. The service saves its users time – a precious commodity for most these days – representing one of its more compelling benefits.

A Holistic Approach and Offering

However, as Nassar points out, the disbursement and home delivery of prescription medications is not the extent of Mednow’s offering. It also provides a range of other services, including its PillSmart™ Medication System – a prescription automation that organizes patients’ pills and vitamins, sorting them by date and time into individual pouches. The System removes a lot of the uncertainty and guesswork that sometimes surrounds one’s need to take multiple medications, ensuring that patients never miss a dose again.

In addition, Mednow’s service also includes professional telemedicine assistance, allowing patients to book appointments online and connect with a doctor from the comfort of their own home. It’s all part of what Nassar refers to as the online pharmacy’s service-first approach, as well as a reflection of its commitment to being ‘about people, not pills’. And, what’s more, Mednow’s services are completely free for its users.

Mednow.ca customer opens medical delivery. Photo: Mednow.ca
Mednow.ca customer opens medical delivery. Photo: Mednow.ca

“We’re taking a holistic approach to online pharmacy care,” he says. “Our objective is to support an already excellent Canadian healthcare system, elevating the standards of service that patients are receiving wherever we’re able to. By providing all of the vital services that are found within a traditional community pharmacy, as well as some that aren’t, we’re able to achieve our objective. It’s all about constantly raising the quality of healthcare that Canadians receive. Mednow offers a digital means by which to do that.”

In a Time of Need

The services that Mednow makes available to its users helps address an already established consumer trend that’s best described as an insatiable need for the on-demand receipt of product and services. It’s a need that Nassar says he and Co-Founder Ali Reyhany recognized when developing the Mednow concept. And it’s a need that has also been exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, lending further to the attractiveness and effectiveness of the online services it provides.

“We set out to bring the same level of convenience and ease of use to the pharmacy industry that exists within other industries,” he states. “We wanted to fill that gap and satisfy these evolving needs of Canadians. The impacts of COVID-19 have really amplified these needs, adding to them a necessity for safety. Although Mednow was developed and launched before the global outbreak of the virus, we feel that the services we offer, providing a safe, convenient, digital channel through which Canadians can meet their healthcare needs, will only become more important and essential as we continue to move forward.”

Mednow.ca customer opens medical delivery. Photo: Mednow.ca
Mednow.ca customer opens medical delivery. Photo: Mednow.ca

Though Mednow was indeed developed and launched ahead of the COVID outbreak, Nassar explains that he and Reyhany scaled up their efforts in order to make their service available to patients in British Columbia and Ontario as soon as they could. And, recognizing the fact that the same pharmacy healthcare needs are required in all other communities across the country, the pair have already set in motion near-term plans to roll out the Mednow offering in all provinces in order to achieve their objective to benefit as many Canadians as possible.

Growth and Innovation

In addition to its services, the online pharmacy recently introduced its latest innovation, ‘Karie’, an automatic medication dispenser that organizes, schedules and dispenses medication to its users at the touch of a button. ‘Karie’ dispenses medication in the same individually marked pouches that the company’s PillSmart Medication System uses. And because the ‘Karie’ devices are connected to a cellphone network, with the permission of the patient, caretakers can be granted access to information related to the disbursement of medications, enabling them to act on that information if necessary. It also provides patients with access to their medication history, resulting in a clearer view into their prescriptions and doses, and a greater understanding of their pill and vitamin regimen. It’s a form of pharmacy technology that poses potentially massive benefits to both patients as well as healthcare providers. And, as Nassar asserts, it’s an innovation that fits nicely into Mednow’s mandate for further growth and reach in the country.

“We want to be able to service Canadians in every community, wherever they live. And we want to continue developing and offering services and innovations that make their lives easier and provide them with their healthcare needs in a convenient and safe way. With an already established network of pharmacies and healthcare professionals across the country, we’re excited to expand our offering and to continue improving on it in order to consistently satisfy the evolving healthcare requirements of today’s customer. Through the means of digital technology and a dedicated service-first mentality, we’ll continue to expand our presence and elevate the quality of healthcare services in Canada.”

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