LINK, a digital portal for pharmacists
OCP France recently unveiled LINK, a digital portal for pharmacists
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OCP France’s Unique Digital Innovations Reach Patients and Pharmacies

There’s a lot activity around OCP France’s transformation into a future-oriented leader that puts the customer at the centre of everything. One of the four pillars of its new premium value proposition “OCP & vous” is the development of innovative digital tools for pharmacies and patients.

After two years of intense work, OCP recently unveiled LINK, a digital portal for pharmacists, and a patient mobile app. Together they create a solution that allows pharmacists to move from being more product sellers to becoming health management professionals who build strong patient relationships. What’s more, these innovations are unique in the market.

“There’s no other initiative similar to it,” said William Le Bellego, Head of pharmacy solutions development at OCP, who is leading the creation of both solutions products. He shared the details with us on their features, the development process, and what he thinks the future of digital innovation will look like.

By placing the patient at the centre of the solution, Link and the apps position the pharmacist as an innovative and connected health actor.

William Le Bellego, Head of pharmacy solutions development at OCP

Linking with Pharmacies

Performance Dashboard for pharmacies

LINK is a powerful solution with four functionalities. Marketplace is OCP’s new model for supplying products and services to pharmacies. It’s not just a platform where pharmacists place orders, it’s also the area where OCP pushes offers and advertises OTCs, generics and para-pharmaceutical products.

The Performance Dashboard lets pharmacists manage their activities, inventory and orders. It also allows them to benchmark their activities against other points of sales in the same area or buying group.

The Patient CRM solution provides a new communication channel to patients beyond the pharmacy. Pharmacists can segment patients and message them directly via LINK. Finally, the Team Management tool helps pharmacists manage staff assignments, HR processes, planning, standards and best practices.

Patients First

With OCP France’s cost-free patient app, individuals can completely manage their prescriptions and monitor their health using six different tools:

  • My Pharmacy – provides pharmacy information (e.g., address, opening hours, promotions) and allows patients and pharmacist to exchange messages.
  • My Prescriptions – patients can send a scan of their prescriptions to the pharmacist and monitor preparation in real time.
  • My Treatment – automatically alerts patients and their families to take their medications and when to renew prescriptions.
  • My Health Monitoring – patients can fill in and track their treatments, vaccination dates and medical examinations. They can also share this information with their pharmacist if they choose.
  • My Health Care Tips – provides a searchable database of health information to read and archive. Patients also receive personalised content based on their interests. 
  • My Loyalty Programme – displays member savings on a selection of para-pharmaceutical products from the pharmacy in real time.

The patient app is connected to the Patient CRM solution in LINK. For example, when a patient loads a prescription via the app, the pharmacist sees the information necessary to fill it. Alternatively, a pharmacist can write treatment information for a patient in LINK and send it to the patient via the App.  

Testing and Roll out

OCP started the marketing pre-launch of LINK in October, and more than 2000 pharmacists have already signed up for it. 

The patient app is connected to the Patient CRM solution in LINK. For example, when a patient loads a prescription via the app, the pharmacist sees the information necessary to fill it. Alternatively, a pharmacist can write treatment information for a patient in LINK and send it to the patient via the App.

Profiting from Partnerships

William Le Bellego (right) and the pharmacy solutions development team
William Le Bellego (right) and the pharmacy solutions development team

William and a core team of about six people are developing LINK and the patient app through partnerships. It was a two-year process from design specification to the pilot phase, where they are now. Beyond selecting a digital development company to build and implement the two products, William’s team secured contracts with other organisations to provide the important pieces of the infrastructure and content.

Ospharm, for instance, which is linked to 7,000 pharmacies in France, provides sell out data to OCP. Vidal, the country’s leader in health content, supplies the articles for the My Health Care Tips module in the patient app.

William claims the biggest challenge of this project was ensuring patient data protection in a mobile environment. “People in France are used to using health cards, but we didn’t want to do that for our digital products,” he said. OCP decided to work with Docapost, France’s largest provider of patient data hosting, to manage patient data access and security on behalf of LINK. They had to create an authentication process to make health data secure for the patient and for the pharmacist.

The testing of the applications is being started with a selecting of 15 pharmacies and their patients. This will enable the development team to identify “bugs” and to test the scaling of the roll out which will start in mid-April 2017.

Experienced Hand

William Le Bellego
William Le Bellego

William was brought on board at OCP two years ago to oversee digital products development, but he’s certainly not new to this industry. He’s worked for more than 25 years in the pharmacy sector, much of it at Welcoop Group, the first electronic point of service provider, where he served as CTO of Pharmagest. He directed a company specialising in information flow between health professionals and insurance organisations, and has led a homecare business, too.

So, what does the voice of experience have to say about the most important digital trends coming up? “I think we must invest in big data,” he stresses. By analysing sell out data of pharmacists, he explains, OCP will be able to predict customers’ needs before they send orders. This increases loyalty and gives them the right product at the right time.

As for the next challenges facing Celesio Group, William believes it is to continue to experiment with digital solutions in different markets, and at the same time to understand and measure the value they create for pharmacies, their patients and manufacturers.