Quintus Liu: Healthera Is Revolutionising the Way People Acquire and Manage Their Medicine

August 9, 2022

Healthera is revolutionising the way people acquire and manage their medicine, making the process simpler, faster, and more reliable.

We do this by connecting patients to a digital network of local pharmacies through an easy-to-use app, where patients can access repeat prescriptions, OTC medicines, personalised clinical advice, and healthcare services the quickest way in the market, all within a few taps.

Customers in healthcare increasingly expect convenient, digital solutions – just like they see in other industries.

Healthera is seizing the opportunity to serve both regular people and thousands of local pharmacies before anyone else, leveraging the often overlooked and under-utilised resources of pharmacies in the UK.

As the UK’s leading healthcare platform, our mission to innovate in digital healthcare has seen us partner with over 1,500+ local pharmacies and attract over 500,000 customers, processing over 3 million prescription medicines per year.

Tell us about yourself?

I came to the UK from Canada to study for an Engineering degree at Cambridge. During my time at university I was involved with lots of entrepreneurial activities, including launching the Cambridge office of a Silicon Valley-based VC fund for its startup accelerator programme.

In my fourth year I gathered with a few friends to do a project with a professor from the Institute of Public Health around medical adherence, a problem affecting 50% of all patients.

The passion for solving this public health problem with technology bound us together and evolved into what is Healthera today.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Keep your head up, focus on your core strengths, and don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

What problem does your business solve?

There are two key problems in consumer healthcare at the moment.

1. For millions of people, medicine is hard to acquire.

Whether it’s repeat prescriptions, over-the-counter purchases, or private medicines, identifying and acquiring the correct products is a cumbersome and disjointed process for many patients/customers (not to mention a tedious administrative effort for pharmacists and clinicians themselves).

2. Pharmacies lack a reliable system for digitally communicating with existing patients (and for reaching out to new customers)

In almost every industry, customers increasingly expect convenient, digital solutions. This is even truer considering the new, tech-equipped, middle-aged generation. Yet, too many pharmacies struggle to sell stock from fully stacked shelves because they just can’t connect with this plugged-in audience – a revenue channel just waiting to be tapped into.

Healthera solves both of these problems by providing a platform that digitally connects pharmacies to local residents.

For customers, this means they can order their medicine for delivery or collection from a single digital space, saving frustration, travel time, and confusion at the till.

For pharmacies, this means they can better manage existing patients’ prescriptions and attract a far larger pool of new customers (plus customise their very own digital shop page with brand colours and designs) – all without having to build any of the hard stuff themselves.

For everyone, this means: No confusion. No hassle. And no wasted medicine.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

We know how passionate local pharmacists are about helping patients get the right medicine (in the easiest way possible). They are Healthera’s inspiration.

My co-founders and I were working on a medical project at university when we first realised this.

The technical aim of this project was to: “conceptualise a behaviour science-based solution for medication adherence.” In simple terms, we were building something smart yet simple that would remind patients when they needed to take prescriptions.

During this process, we spoke to a lot of local pharmacies. Hearing their struggles about managing prescriptions with patients, reliably communicating with new and existing customers, and earning enough to keep going, is what inspired us to create a solution that would go beyond just prescription reminders – for both patients and local pharmacies.

Beyond this initial inspiration, the last five years have motivated us further. Healthera’s sights are now set even higher.

What is your magic sauce?

We’re the only healthcare platform that was purpose-built to utilise the UK’s biggest, existing resource of medicines and health services – our local pharmacies.

Unlike “online pharmacies” and “online doctors”, Healthera doesn’t rely on our own supply to serve customers. Instead, we act as a bridge for pharmacies, focusing on how to bring their stock and services to more people who need them. Thisserves patients faster, more reliably, and with a bigger range of products and services – all while helping local economies flourish.

Already, our technology stack consists of: proprietary algorithms to efficiently process prescriptions at scale, several custom-made clinical system & NHS integrations, full eCommerce functionality, and marketplace capabilities.

While some existing solutions allow patients to buy the medicines they already know they need, Healthera’s developing the market’s first end-to-end solution that completes the whole journey from diagnosing their conditions, to product recommendations, to local same-day fulfilment.

For both pharmacies and patients, we want to truly bring healthcare into the digital world – evolving crucial services so customers have a simple experience, attracting more users from increasingly digital generations.

Wherever healthcare services can be made easier through digitalisation, Healthera will be there to lead the way.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Beyond revolutionising the way patients acquire their medicine, we want to become the go-to platform for everything healthcare. People should have a simple relationship with their health, without the manual barriers that come with the current lack of digitalisation.

Healthera will be a platform that can take a patient from describing their conditions, all the way to having their treatments in-hand, within an hour.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge was in the early days of scaling our rockstar founding team of generalists (who would do everything), into a larger team with various functions: sales, account management, customer service, product, technology.

Earlier on, we rushed to bring people onboard and weren’t clear enough on roles, responsibilities, and expectations.

Over time we developed a management style that was based on OKRs and set clear expectations for the roles we were hiring for.

This kept everyone motivated so they could reach their full potential from the day they were onboarded. We’re currently undergoing another period of scaling up so we’re excited to replicate this evolution on a larger scale!

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We’ve built a platform that connects 1,500 pharmacies (more than 10% of the UK market) to over half a million patients, by focussing on delivering value.

We want to collaborate with independent pharmacies or pharmacy chains who want to streamline their admin-heavy processes and attract more customers in a sustainable way, and companies that can bring differentiated healthcare products and services to patients, with whom we can work together in synergy

Please reach out by emailing [email protected]

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