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Lloydspharmacy owner acquires repeat prescription app Echo

The acquisition is part of McKesson UK's new digital healthcare strategy
The acquisition is part of McKesson UK's new digital healthcare strategy

Lloydspharmacy’s parent company McKesson UK has acquired prescription management app Echo, as it “accelerates” its digital healthcare strategy.

The company announced this afternoon (June 19) it had bought Echo – which allows patients to order their repeat prescriptions and have them delivered for free, and manage their medicines via their smartphone – for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is part of McKesson UK's “new digital healthcare strategy, which is centred around providing more simple, convenient ways for customers to manage their health online”, the company said.

“We know that our customers are always looking for ways to make their lives easier by managing more things online. That’s why growing our digital capabilities is one of our top priorities,” McKesson UK’s chief digital officer Catherine McDermott said.

“By working with Echo we are accelerating the development of our digital strategy. The technology they have developed is used by thousands of people already and their operation allows them to fulfil thousands of repeat prescriptions every week.” 

Echo launched in 2016 and is one of three NHS-approved repeat prescription apps in the NHS app library. It was also part of the 2018 NHS Innovation Accelerator programme, which is designed to fast-track new treatments and technologies into the health service.

Echo is staffed by around 85 people, including clinical advisors. Its co-founder Stephen Bourke launched Lloydspharnacy’s Online Doctor service in the Republic of Ireland and Australia and the app’s clinical director Alistair Murray received his pharmacy training at Boots, before spending more than 12 years at Green Light Pharmacy.

McKesson UK CEO Toby Anderson said he is “excited to welcome Echo” to the company.

“Health secretary Matt Hancock has spoken on numerous occasions about the need for the NHS to invest in digital healthcare solutions, and how technology is a big part of the NHS long-term plan.

“With our existing customer-base and Echo’s tech, we can help people to take more control over how they manage their health online.”

10 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of Lloydspharmacy's acquisition?

Salim Maalim, Community pharmacist

Independents should come together and get an app before it is too late for those patients who prefer apps!

Community Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Wow  !!! Can I offer my new 'App' to Loydls ...it's called 'How To Treat Your Greatest Asset With Respect(Pharmacists and Dispensers) And Improve On Your Historically Appalling Employee Satisfaction Levels'......I can visualise the launch at HQ now.....'Hey Guys'...says the new whizzkid IT Exec/board member ... 'That's what we've nicknamed the HTTYGAWRAIOYHAESL App'....Win Win !!!. If that app existed and were used then customers might stay with you rather than flock to the local independent where the 'Corporate Claptrap' is replaced by real people serving real people......As the Exec went on 'Guys,Guys..??? Nobody's listening or staying long enough to change things' He was promptly replaced by a more robotic ,cheaper exec .....Thereby Mirroring staff/pharmacist turnover perfectly at one on the most consistently bad pharmacy employers in the UK (Where are you GPhC/PDA????)......Hope the App is a perfect match for an appaling pharmacy chain ...200 branches down....and counting....The tag line 'Loydls the 100 hour (not needed) pharmacy contract leap frogging experts....

Community Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Meanwhile at Booties....Unwell and Rylands an even better app is under devel....

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Where is the technology leading us?? Obesity/ High BP/ multi-morbidities. Why? Because the patients are so lazy they can't visit their local Pharmacy to hand in a slip of their repeat meds or at least pick up the phone (not for the app) and call the pharmacy to order the script. And then come again and collect your medicines instead of getting it delivered. In the name of technology these firms are focussing more on diverting the patients from their high street/ independant pharmacy in to profiteering their online business. In the meantime by delivering straight to their door step making them lazier. 

C A, Community pharmacist

And more dependant. The app didn't tell me to order my meds, so if I die it's your fault! 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Coming soon in a future patch.

Mark Pedder, Pharmaceutical Adviser

It's not the development they're buying I'd suggest - its the completed NHS Digital pairing integration element that's of massive value.  Rowlands absent from that list of digital aquitistions.......at the moment

Adam Smith, Senior Management

As Mark said - this is where you understand where much of the value is derived from for UK focused health start ups;

https://digital.nhs.uk/services/gp-systems-of-choice/pairing-integration

Sam Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Dimec by Coop, Wiggly Amps by Boots, Echo by Lloyds. Has everyone lost the ability to develop technology in-house these days. Pharmacy is quickly moving and the technology is well behind especially the PMR systems. Patients will shortly have more information in front of them than the pharmacist

C A, Community pharmacist

What do you mean shortly? Patient access app already gives them heaps of info if they want it. I was doing and MUR with a patient on various meds including a statin, and I asked him about his cholesterol, so he got out the app and showed me the latest results. It was quite interesting. 

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