These days you can buy virtually any consumer product you want online and have it delivered to your door and Guelph entrepreneur Justin Macorin has applied a similar concept to filling prescriptions.
“You take a picture of the prescription and you take a picture of your health card and it is sent directly to the pharmacy,” said Macorin. “The pharmacy fills the prescription and they will contact you if there is any additional information required during the process.”
The whole process is done through a website Macorin has developed for his business Pharmasea.
“The world is changing at such a rapid rate, organizations really need to be proactive, ensuring that the delivery of services is as consumer-centric as possible,” he said. “We act on behalf of the pharmacy as their agent and it is really like having a pharmacy assistant available wherever and whenever you want.”
Macorin was born in Montreal in 1992, the oldest and only boy of two siblings. He studied information technology at Sheridan College.
“I was in the process of completing a bachelor of information science degree at Sheridan and then I got recruited by Cycura, which is one of the most advanced firms in Canada when it comes to cyber security research and development,” said Macorin. “I worked there for about a year as a cyber security researcher and we had incredible engagements with government agencies and also private organisations.”
He moved to Guelph and set out to start a business that allowed him to indulge his interest in information technology and utilize his training and experience
“Over the last two years I was involved in a few different things all involved with artificial intelligence on the speech and text recognition side of things,” he said.
“Typically, the sales cycles are very long, so I decided to move away from that and take a look at businesses with shorter sales cycles. That’s where I came into this whole pharmacy space.”
He recognized a growing demand for in-home pharmacy services from people with busy schedules as well as seniors and others with mobility limitations.
“I started to talk to pharmacist in Guelph about some of their challenges and what I found is they really didn’t have any uniformed service provider,” he said. “Customers were not happy with their experience because consistency and continuity of care is really important. That was a space that I felt could be a little more worked on.”
Most pharmacies provide home delivery but he believed prescription deliveries required a more confidential and secure service than other consumer products.
“A courier company is great if you want to get flowers or pizza delivered,” he said. “If you want a delivery use a courier company. If you want a healthcare provider, use Pharmasea. I have two part-time employees right now and we’re all trained in dementia care and in seniors’ care. I don’t know too many delivery companies that can say that. We act as healthcare professional and because we act as an agent of the pharmacy we are actually bound by the same provincial and federal regulations.”
Some pharmacies offer apps for filling prescriptions that customers can load on their computers or mobile devices but Macorin said they are underused.
“People don’t really like installing apps and because of that we see that a lot of pharmacy apps are not being installed on phones,” he said. “I took a step back and said what kind of technologies are top technology companies introducing today and one of those technologies is called progressive web applications.”
The Pharmasea.ca site uses the new technology.
“It acts as an app and it looks like an app, but you don’t need to install it,” said Macorin. “You don’t need to register an account and all the information is securely transmitted to the pharmacy of choice.”
It provides a list of pharmacies in your area and will help you find the one closest to you.
He sees potential for growing the service to other communities, but his focus is on Guelph for now.
“I love Guelph,” he said. “It is my favourite city and I think there is a lot of work to do in this city. I will never say no to growth, but my focus right now is to stay in Guelph and ensure the highest quality service for pharmacies in the Guelph area and their customers. That is my number one focus today. Later, when that is filled successfully, maybe I will go somewhere else.”