Since opening its first outlet in Naivasha in 2015, the innovative healthcare retailer Goodlife Pharmacy has opened over 30 stores in the East African Region. Already the largest pharmaceutical retail business across East Africa, their rapid expansion continues having recently acquired four pharmacies in Nairobi and three in Mombasa.
The new acquisitions in Nairobi are located in Westlands, Valley Arcade and Nakumatt Highridge. The outlets are strategically located in shopping malls and high-traffic areas. The new premises are currently in a transitional phase with new systems being introduced and refitting taking place within the month. By the end of April the new branches will be up and running to the usual standards of the international brand.
Despite Kenyans using pharmacies as a first point of care, traditionally they are used to a simple point of sale system: they come in, buy medications and leave. Goodlife has reshaped tradition by integrating pharmacy services with diagnostics, wellness and beauty to better serve their customers.
In addition to the consultation services they offer, they also use technology to provide convenient access to healthcare. When new customers use Goodlife, a digital patient record is created and securely stored in their system. This record includes the patient’s medical history and is available to attending consultants at each of their outlets, meaning customers can get personalised customer service at any Goodlife Pharmacy.
Out with the Old
Adhering to industry practices has been imperative to the Goodlife business model. In an industry where counterfeit medications are readily available, the chain has set strict measures to ensure the safety of their clients at all costs. Valid prescriptions are mandatory for all prescriptive medication to ensure the right drug is used to treat the right symptoms.
As health care providers, the Goodlife team understands seeing a doctor to get a prescription can be a taxing endeavor for many Kenyans; high consultation fees and doctor’s availability and time constraints are a number of the limitations. To provide a suitable solution, Goodlife partnered with telemedicine service provider, Daktari Africa to introduce “My Goodlife Daktari”, convenient face-to-face doctor consultations via video conferencing.
The leading-edge service is easily accessed through a quick and simple signup process. Once registered, patients are fully in control. They can choose a doctor from a wide range of specialisations, confirm their credentials, and input their own biodata all before placing a call.
“It’s really all about efficiency and affordability. It’s a faster, easier way to access a qualified doctor than a visit to the hospital,” explained Goodlife COO Peter Barker. “The less hassle for the patient to see the right doctor and get fast treatment, the better!”
The telemedical service works differently to their competitors because the system selects a pharmacy and locates doctors of all specialisations within a 2 - 4 km radius for online consultations. Therefore, in the case of physical referral, the patient can still see the same doctor they spoke to in person within a short walking/driving distance.
Tried and Tested
Taking over from previous pharmacies, Goodlife must incorporate some of the services available to customers prior to acquisition. For example, a number of the family owned pharmacies had lax credit terms as they knew most of their clients personally. Credit schemes will still be available at the new stores, however there will be an official process with the financial team at headquarters making the final decision on account openings.
As always, payments via M-pesa will be possible and above other pharmacies, so will Bonga points. With 10 points for 2sh, patients will be able to use their Safaricom loyalty points to purchase medication.
Furthermore, taking into account the concerns of their customers, Goodlife is developing the necessary systems to allow medications to be purchased under insurance in the near future.
The trusted brand with a social impact is well on their way to achieving the goal of opening over 100 stores by 2021. Extending their footprint in the region will not only create hundreds of jobs but will also improve access to affordable healthcare for millions of people.