Layer 1

'How the betting industry prepared me for a job in pharmacy'

Matt Poole: The more dots we join, the more we can deliver a more personalised service.

The pharmacy sector could learn a lot about using data from the betting and gaming industries, the new digital director at Lloydspharmacy's parent company has said.

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.”

Sharing the data surrounding the electronic prescription service (EPS) and summary care records (SCR) "will always benefit" patients, he added.

This article was updated on February 24. 


What data would be most helpful in improving patient care?

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

I noticed the article said "Mr Poole is keen to use data to “drive the business”" and not patient care - the obvious question here is Lloydspharmacy's business synonymous with good patient care in this context?

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Must be the worst headline I have ever read in 25 yrs of reading the C&D !  Taking money off poor people connected to pharmaceutical healthcare. Yup, can see the connection straight away!  NOT !      (Roll on retirement!)

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Too right. I'm amazed the C&D have stooped to these levels. Do we really need ex-bookies telling us how to run pharmacies? I think this article would have been more at home in 'Used Car Salesman's Monthly'!

Courage Asemota, Locum pharmacist

A person with links to the gambling sector has NO business in pharmacy! 

Frustrated Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Sharing the data surrounding the electronic prescription service (EPS) and summary care records (SCR) "will always benefit" patients

Try telling that to the patients who had their confidential details sold by Pharmacy2U. Clearly all this BS you're spouting - “building up a picture and a trend of a patient or customer”, using "the data history of patients to improve their relationship with the business", using data to “drive the business” - hasn't the slightest thing to do with patient care, but is all about lining your employers pockets.

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

"The pharmacy sector could learn a lot about using data from the betting and gaming industries..."

Yeah, like how to take advantage of vulnerable people in deprived areas. I think I'll pass on that, thanks.

Job of the week

Support Pharmacist
Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartl
up to £47,500 dependent on hours (30-40 hours flexible)