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New PharmD grads kick off careers with award-winning tech venture


With two pharmacies under his co-ownership and a third one he’s helping out until a permanent pharmacist comes on board, Michael Kani has little time to waste. So when he was offered a chance to test-drive PharmAssess–a pharmacist-created software designed to streamline COVID vaccine and minor ailments appointments and workflows–Kani didn’t hesitate.

“The provincial government had made pharmacies responsible for their own (vaccine) bookings, so all pharmacies were scrambling to find booking systems,” recalled Kani, pharmacist and co-owner of Idylwyld Pharmacy and Langham Pharmacy, both in the Saskatoon, Sask., area. “I had been researching to see which ones would be best for us, and when we got the offer to be part of the pilot for this new software, I said ‘okay.’”

Designed and developed by a group of young pharmacists–two of whom graduated just this year from the University of Toronto’s doctor of pharmacy program–PharmAssess is a software-as-a-service solution that digitizes and automates pharmacy appointments and minor ailment assessments.

What sets PharmAssess products apart is their ability to integrate into the three most widely used pharmacy management systems in Canada, said Thomas Bogdanowicz, CEO of PharmAssess Diagnostics Corp., the award-winning Toronto-based company behind the software, with accolades from Queens Entrepreneurship Competition, Synapse Life Science Competition, and UofT's Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy Business Plan Competition.

Thomas Bogdanowicz Thomas Bogdanowicz

“We have a third-party partner company that streamlines integration into all three major systems so that’s a huge differentiating factor,” said Bogdanowicz. “For pharmacists, the advantage is we can track inventory, pull and tag patient information from their PMS, send over documentation such as pharmacy injection records–instead of writing these up by hand–and the system also auto-populates a lot of the information that pharmacists today have to enter manually.”

PharmAssess is accessible through desktops, laptops and mobile devices, allowing pharmacists to use it behind the counter or in their counselling room, Bogdanowicz added.

Initially PharmAssess had focused solely on a minor ailments tool designed to reduce a pharmacist’s administrative burden by digitizing every step of the process–from patient intake and diagnosis to automated documentation and prescription.

But when pharmacists across Canada were put at the frontlines of the country’s COVID vaccination efforts, PharmAssess expanded quickly into appointment bookings, said Bogdanowicz.

A number of pharmacists were invited to test the PharmAssess booking management program and 10 in Saskatchewan agreed to take part in the pilot.

“We’re looking to expand that network in Saskatchewan and in Ontario, as we expand our integrated capabilities,” said Bogdanowicz.

Kani says his pharmacies will likely continue using PharmAssess beyond the pilot phase. At $35 a month plus 25 cents per appointment booking and $1 per minor ailment assessment–a feature available only in Saskatchewan right now–the price is right for a small business owner like him.

But price isn’t the only consideration for him and his business partner, said Kani.

“I was impressed with the ease of use and the thoughtfulness that went into the design process,” he said.”From the pharmacist interface side, there’s a dashboard that lays everything out, including inventory and a calendar that allows me to add different types of appointments. I also tried the patient interface and it was very straightforward.”

With eight provinces already allowing minor ailment prescribing for pharmacists, and Ontario on its way to joining the list, Bogdanowicz anticipates a growing need for his software. He and his team are already exploring new technologies and applications for PharmAssess, including smoking cessation programs.

“What we’re doing at PharmAssess is less about the software and more about the drive to change pharmacy and help pharmacists do more,” said Bogdanowicz, who is among the growing number of Canadian pharmacists who have started technology ventures–such as MedMe Health and MedEssist– to improve pharmacy workflows. “It’s about giving them an edge so they can really perform the clinical services they’re trained to do.”


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