His work in pharmacy and betting “absolutely” use the same skills, as both industries use data to “build up a picture and a trend of a patient or customer”, Matt Poole told C+D earlier this month (February 6).
The digital director is now "bringing some insight" gleaned from his previous job with betting company Ladbrokes "to support patients", he said.
Mr Poole joined Celesio UK on January 18, headhunted from Boots – where he spent three years as head of digital development – following 10 years at Ladbrokes.
He said Celesio UK uses the data history of patients to improve their relationship with the business, employing rules of customer relationship management (CRM). This is something "betting and gaming have been doing for quite a while", he stressed.
"Similar to the betting industry, the pharmacy industry is quite unique," Mr Poole said. "It has some nuances that aren’t always common sense based around regulation".
Difference between two pharmacy roles
Mr Poole is keen to use data to “drive the business” at Celesio UK. "I think my role is to challenge - where can we do more?"
The high level of “accountability” of his new role – something managing director Cormac Tobin "very much believes in" – is more akin to his work at Ladbrokes than Boots, Mr Poole added.
When he was at the latter the elements were "more separated” and the broader horizons of his data remit at Celesio UK are "why I made the decision to come".
"Boots is very good at [using data] from a retail perspective," he said.
A fuller picture of a patient
Building a "digital picture" of how a patient manages their health, has the potential to deliver a service "tailor-made to each patient as an individual", Mr Poole said.
Celesio UK's use of "omni-channelling" gathers all sales categories into one place for the customer. It also enables the organisation to give them "the right content with the context, consistently and conveniently", he said.
"If a patient has provided some information on their mobile phone, then when they have a conversation with someone in a pharmacy, that data should be relevant so that conversation continues," he added.
Mr Poole compares Celesio UK's data bank about an individual to the memory of a GP that a patient has been seeing for a decade.
What data is used?
Mr Poole aims to simplify patient condition management through collating information ranging from patients’ glucose levels to medicine ingredients, he said, but stressed that personal information needs to be handled with “absolute integrity”.
The increase of patients sharing data from their electronic devices such as wearables offers a particular opportunity to improve services, Mr Poole said. “The more dots we join, the more we can deliver a more personalised service.”
This article was updated on February 24.