Advancing The Profession of Pharmacy

Interview with PillPack CEO TJ Parker

by | Jan 23, 2016 | Big Picture Ideas

Today, I am so excited to welcome co-founder and CEO of PillPack TJ Parker.  I recently featured Dr. Parker in my Pharmacy Times article the 10 Shared Traits of Successful Pharmacist Entrepreneurs, but I wanted to include more of his story here for the Pharmapreneur Community.

TJ is an innovative Pharmapreneur that is re-imagining the use of technology in pharmacy.  PillPack has an awesome product that helps pre-sort, package and give patients the tools they need to manage multiple medications simply and easily.

Q:  How did growing up in your dad’s pharmacy influence your career?
My dad owned a pharmacy that pre-sorted and packaged medicines for long term care facilities.  In pharmacy school, I began to develop the idea for PillPack as I became very interested in technology and design.  I always felt called to pharmacy as I watched my father build and grow his pharmacy.  In pharmacy school, I became interested in technology and entrepreneurship and dreamed of creating a pharmacy that would help simplify patient experience.

Q:  How did you develop your interest in entrepreneurship during pharmacy school?
I became involved in learning about design and technology and began networking with like-minded individuals.  I was very nearby the world renowned MIT and had the opportunity to collaborate with students in their technology and business programs.  This led to be meeting my business partner Elliot Cohen.  Together we would go on to found “Hacking Medicine.”  These weekend long events connected the brightest technology and business students and healthcare providers in order to brainstorm solutions to medicine’s biggest problems.  It was very exciting to be in that environment.  Later I was able to realize my dream of combining technology, design and pharmacy in 2013 when Elliot and I co-founded PillPack.

Q:  What advice would you give to other pharmacist-entrepreneurs?
Going after your dreams is achievable, the hardest part is getting started.  The best way to get started is by taking small action steps.  There is a misconception that you have to have everything figured out when you first get started.  That isn’t the truth, part of being an entrepreneur is being adaptive.

Q:  How does PillPack help simplify the pharmacy experience for patients?
Our focus is removing barriers for patients that have to manage multiple medications.  Simplifying their regimen, making recommendations, providing excellent customer service and access to a pharmacist is key.  Patients can even use our website to set reminder appointments for taking their medications.

I am super impressed by PillPack  and their goal of revolutionizing the patient-pharmacy experience.  When asked what advice he would give to aspiring entrepreneurs TJ firmly stated, “Going after your dream is achievable, the hardest part is getting started.”

PillPack is off to a great start so keep your eye on this innovative pharmacist led company.

About the Author

Blair Thielemier, PharmD, is an MTM consultant pharmacist specializing in pharmacy billing models. She consults on and produces e-learning programs for state and national organizations, pharmacy wholesalers, payers, technology start-ups. She has books and online courses available for individuals looking to leverage their pharmacy knowledge into monetized clinical programs at PharmapreneurAcademy.com. She speaks internationally about trends in leveraging pharmacists to improve value-based care.

 

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