Dr. Disruptor? (Lemonaid Health)

By Jason Bradshaw, Partner, Thursday, 1st June 2017 | 0 comments


Family medicine is about to change

Ryanair was a disruptor. The Irish airline took on high priced flag carriers and won by slashing fares and cutting the frills. Airbnb is a disruptor. Who would have thought that letting out a room in your house would be become a massive, profitable, global phenomenon? Uber, Lyft and Just Eat are all companies that are changing the ways we live, creating a massive valuation for themselves, along the way.

Do you know the Lotto numbers?

Every Venture Capital company I talk to dreams about finding a disruptor.  It’s their version of the winning EuroMillions Lotto ticket. And, of course, finding the next big thing is just as hard as picking the right lottery numbers. However, as advisers to community pharmacies, I keep a very close eye on development in that sector and this week I saw what may be a new disruptor, one that will affect pharmacies.

Lemonaid is no fizzy drink

I have to admit that I had never heard of Lemonaid Health ( @LemonaidHealth ) until last week. They popped up on my radar because the US company raised $11 million in funding. Now, in VC land, that’s not a lot of money, but the narrative around the company was very interesting indeed. Lemonaid is planning on disrupting the pharmacy business as we know it. They say they aim to provide affordable online healthcare.

Doctor IT will see you now

Lemonaid is already available in 14 of the 50 states in the US. Their claim is that they ‘…leverage evidence-based guidelines and the most up-to-date clinical protocols to provide quality care for less than typical co-pays. In just a few minutes, Lemonaid enables patients to get care for conditions like acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, flu, hair loss, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and for birth control medication. If appropriate, Lemonaid Health’s board-certified doctors recommend a treatment and send a prescription to the pharmacy of choice.’ Their platform uses intelligent algorithms to ensure (their claim) the best treatment.

A shortage of GPs

There’s a curious phenomenon in the US where it appears in some states that it’s very hard to get a doctor’s appointment, and when you do get in the surgery door it’s frightfully expensive for a consultation. A charge of $200 is not untypical for a visit. Lemonaid is aiming to by-pass the doctor and cut the cost. They are hoping to disrupt family doctors and they claim they have already handled 48,000 consultations.

It’ll never happen here?

And before you say that it’ll never happen here, ask yourself did you say the same about Airbnb and all of the other disruptors? If your business is pharmacy you need to prepare for what’s about to happen. There will be opportunities by making sure you team up with these new disruptors. If, like me, you think we’re going to see a lot of changes in the next couple of years it’s time we had a talk. Why not give me a call and we’ll see how your business can benefit from a bit of disruption.

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