An Introduction To MedEssist

August 18, 2022

Hi there!

I'm Michael Do, pharmacist and co-founder of MedEssist. 

Let me tell you a little about our company story, and the journey we’ll take you on as a valued partner. It's an exciting time for us at MedEssist: we're launching a new website, expanding our team with dedicated and creative professionals, and embarking on an incredibly ambitious roadmap to serve you in new, invaluable ways.

Michael Do, co-founder of MedEssist
A Bit of Background:

I've been a community pharmacist and manager of an independent pharmacy in an underserved neighborhood for close to 10 years. There have been "interesting days" of chasing shoplifters, calling for an ambulance, or cleaning up urine or vomit. As bad as the lows were, there have been so many amazing memories through the years. I recall visiting the sweetest elderly patient to teach her how to use a microwave for the first time so she could heat her Meals-on-Wheels frozen dinners. I remember volunteering as a translator at events for seniors in the community, either to address local safety concerns or to combat social isolation (a fundamental determinant of health) and receiving a valentine's day gift afterward. I remember creating laminated reference cards for the personal support workers in the area and teaching them proper inhaler and insulin techniques to enable them to identify patients that might benefit from a pharmacy consultation. 

I love being a pharmacist and it is not only because I’m really good at catching drug therapy problems, but because pharmacy is my way of expressing my love for my community. At MedEssist, we believe pharmacies impact the health of people in so many immeasurable ways and it's what drives us to do what we do at MedEssist. It's why I still pick up shifts whenever I can and can’t say goodbye to it.

Michael's Pharmacy, 2010

The COVID Pandemic:

When the first COVID-19 wave arrived, our team knew that pharmacies were going to be at the front lines of the most ambitious public health campaign ever attempted. How would your average independent pharmacy be able to manage the massive disparity between the limited supply and massive public demand? For the past 2 years, I've been deeply rooted in my computer screen coding non-stop to do whatever I could to help our pharmacies not only survive the pandemic but to benefit from all the heroic work they’ve been doing. 

I’m not sure if many of you were aware, but we were a very small self-funded team. That meant many extremely late nights, but I had no choice because if things didn’t work I’d hear it from the staff at the pharmacy I managed! I want to thank all the students and interns that helped us along the way. We couldn’t have done it without you! In addition, the amazing Canadian innovation ecosystem that contributed to keeping us sustained with funding and mentorship: H2i, Brampton Venture Zone, Venture Lab, and Altitude Accelerator - we’re grateful for your support before and during the pandemic. Finally, I also want to thank all the pharmacies that trusted us throughout the pandemic. Your selfless work inspires us every day. We can’t wait to show what you have inspired us to build next. 

Where Do We Go From Here?

The first new thing I want to introduce is our new blog. It will no longer only cover updates to the platform but will be focused on giving you practical tips, tricks, and insights to simplifying your workflow and growing your business. Register for our newsletter to get original content delivered every two weeks. 

Part of the MedEssist team working on the platform

We're building the next generation of support systems for pharmacies. Unfortunately, there's no way to cover all of it in this article so you'll have to wait for our newsletter for specifics. However, I can give you a few broad ideas:

  1. The MedEssist team is bigger and better than ever - We've doubled our team size in the last month with experienced pharmacy professionals and engineers with unique talent. That means we have more capacity to build, support, and grow with you. We’re just getting started on a new roadmap and we’re so excited that you will be a part of it!
  2. Nothing is off the table - We do not limit ourselves on how we plan to help you. We’re here to break down any barrier that’s preventing you from practicing how you want. Sometimes that means it's hard to categorize whether MedEssist is a business, productivity, or clinical system. We’re all of the above and more, seamlessly integrated together because that’s what we think every pharmacist deserves.
  3. Never be alone again - Community pharmacy has always been a bit of an isolated profession. We’re about to change that in a big way. MedEssist has always been designed to function as a network. You may have seen some early examples of how pharmacies can refer patients for other healthcare services or how we’re directing patients to your pharmacies. We’ll be taking this concept to the next level to support you like never before!

One last thing, I didn’t mention my co-founder Joella yet as I think perhaps she might tell her own story someday. I just want to say there is no one out there as hard-working and has the exact experience to actually change how neighborhood pharmacies are going to grow their business online. Both Joella and I are eternally grateful for all of your past support and we can’t wait to assist you in delighting your staff and patients over the coming years.

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