Below is an overview of the Q&A session with Jeremy Meader and Steve Anderson at the Numark Conference.

Can you explain the main difference between a DSP and the Co-op Health App?

Jeremy answered, “What’s different with the Co-op Health app is that it is a platform and it can send prescriptions to any EPS enabled pharmacy in England, the DSP is just one option of many. Once we rebrand it to Hey Pharmacist, we’ll never trade that from a Numark perspective as a DSP. We will always maintain the link between the patient and their local healthcare professional.

“Patients will have all the benefits of the online experience and online convenience but the link will always remain. So, that’s the fundamental difference and something we are absolutely committed to.

“We want to give our members the best possible prospect of maintaining their business and competing against DSP’s in the market.”

“Finally, the app enables patients to choose to collect their repeat prescription from any pharmacy in England by setting their pharmacy nomination for them.”

When is the app available?

Jeremy answered, “It will take us approximately 3-4 months to get the rebrand completed, so mid-summer we’re looking to launch Hey Pharmacist with our members. There is a tremendous amount of work going on in the background to make sure we get that proposition absolutely right for our members.

“My appeal to all our members is really to support that as actively as you can, you are in one way the greatest part of our marketing arm, if we can mobilise our army of members we really can gain a very significant share within the market and genuinely compete very effectively against players who have been in the market for a longer time, but critically making sure that business is maintained by our members.”

How will you be marketing Hey Pharmacist for the independent pharmacist?

Jeremy answered, “As I alluded to a moment ago, an important part and a point of difference we have is the army of members who can support us with this initiative.

“But more fundamentally, we will look to give this a significant campaign.

“This is a major investment for the PHOENIX group and we’re committed to making this a success. You will see a very strong advertising campaign.

“I hope you are as excited about Hey Pharmacist as we are. I think we have come up with something incredibly topical, very catchy and will be very memorable, all of which will significantly help to market the app.

Steve then added, “I’d just like to mention, while we are on the marketing of the app, recently in the group we’ve been spending more and more time on how apps are performing, we heard earlier from Alex on the excellent ratings of 4.8 that we see for the Co-op Health app.

“Conversely we have been looking at a lot of other apps in the market, Just Eat for example has 1 or 1.2 as a rating, so to Jeremy’s point when we bring this to market we will do this with you, where we have a collective responsibility to take care of that rating in the app. That rating is incredibly important for us as a collective and I think if our 5,000 strong membership step over the threshold in the same way we can look after it incredibly well.”

What will the relationship be between “Patient Access for Professionals” and “Hey Pharmacist” in the future?

Jeremy answered, “They are complimentary offers, if at the moment your pharmacy is in an area that is served by a large number of EMIS surgeries, there is a very clear opportunity to gain a large number of patients who are currently ordering their prescription through that particular app, but are not linked to a pharmacy.

“So there is an opportunity to gain those patients, there is approx. 3.4 million of them. We see that as an opportunity for some, Hey Pharmacist is a broader proposition but we think the two can live in the market, it’s a large enough market for there to be a number of players. We think there are benefits to members from both.”

Will there be a video consultation element built in?

Jeremy answered, “Yes, we see Hey Pharmacist as being a journey and we will certainly look to develop new capabilities. The obvious next step is to move into services, as part of that I would like to see a video consultation service.

“We intend for Hey Pharmacist to be as comprehensive an offer for your customers as we possibly can, so we will look at building that into the app.”

Will members be able to see the whole process from the patient ordering the prescription to it being approved and being sent to the pharmacy?

Jeremy answered, “That is definitely our intention and that capability will be there. We will need to invest in the technological side of things and we have begun to do that. Clearly, a large side of the user experience is around this.

“There is also some fundamental advantages for the pharmacy in terms of the better we can manage patient expectations around lead times, the better that experience is for them. The more reminders of that will serve to work incredibly well for all parties.

“So that is a resounding yes.”

Is it correct that with the Hey Pharmacist app you do not need the linkage key to sign up a patient?

Jeremy answered, “Yes that is correct, you do not need that linkage key which makes it a much easier experience for the patient. Critically it means when you are speaking to a patient in store, you can get them to sign up there and then, and we will make sure that patient is linked to your pharmacy.”

“We think it’s a really important point of difference for us that gives our members a great opportunity.”


We’ll be sharing more exciting details about our plans for Hey Pharmacist over the coming months, so keep an eye out in Numark Pharmacy magazine and check NumarkNet for updates.