As of March 2017, the Google Play store for Android users offered 2.8 million applications, and Apple’s App Store offered 2.2 million apps, according to statista.com. Most of my pharmacist colleagues swear by certain apps, such as Epocrates, Medscape, or Lexicomp, to use as a reference while working, but until now I have never heard of an app to help connect pharmacies with pharmacists who are looking to pick up shifts. I saw Fill In Rx advertised on LinkedIn recently and spoke with the app designer, Farrukh Karimov, to find out more about this novel idea for an app.
Question: What is your background in developing this app? Are you a pharmacist?
Answer: No, I am not a pharmacist, but I have worked in the medical field for quite some time prior to becoming a designer. I have a degree in psychology from Brooklyn College. For the past 7 years, I have been working with various businesses and creating solutions to their design challenges/problems.
Q: When and how did you get the idea for the app?
A: The idea for Fill In Rx came in 2015 when a close friend of mine, Yaakov Mavashev [the product manager at Fill In Rx], called 1 day and told me about a problem the pharmacy world was facing: finding coverage. Yaakov, who is a pharmacist, has worked both for chain and independent pharmacies.
While vacationing one day, he received multiple calls and messages from independent pharmacy owners and managers, asking if he or someone he knew was available to cover at their pharmacy. Yaakov’s frustration was evident, as this was not the first time pharmacy owners had reached out to him to find coverage. Yaakov himself faced the same issue when looking for someone to cover him when he was out.
Most pharmacies were finding coverage by posting in Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram groups [and] asking friends/family, employees, or other pharmacy owners/managers. The problem was that there was no streamlined way for independent pharmacies to find candidates to cover shifts.
During our conversation he told me, “I’m really surprised that there is no systematic approach to pharmacy staffing … Do you think we can make an app to solve this problem?”
To me, the idea of designing a business app that solved a real pain point for many pharmacies was a great opportunity and a great way to help the pharmacy community as a whole. Many pharmacists that are graduating have a tough time finding jobs. Excitedly, I agreed to jump aboard.
Over the next few months, we assembled a team and began working on designing the perfect solution. The end result was the Fill In Rx app.
Q: Tell me about getting the app up and running. How did you design it?
A: We had a real design challenge when we started creating the Fill In Rx app. Our goal was to create a simple, easy-to-use, and delightful user experience, while maintaining a level of professionalism to the look and feel of the app. Since pharmacy professionals are very busy people, we needed the flow of the app to be quick and simple. The registration process takes less than 3 minutes. We launched Fill In Rx in New York on January 19, 2018. So far, we have had a tremendous amount of positive feedback both from pharmacy owners/managers and pharmacists. Many pharmacies and pharmacists have stated that such an app was much needed.
Q: Walk me through how employers and employees are matched up.
A: The matching process is very simple. Pharmacists manage their availability through the My Schedule section of the app. They post the days and times they are available for work. Pharmacies post when they need a pharmacist to cover; the hourly wage they will pay; [and] other crucial parameters, such as knowledge of prescription processing software, additional languages the pharmacist needs to speak, and if a pharmacist is licensed to immunize.
Once the job is posted, pharmacists are matched to jobs based on parameters listed above. Pharmacists are able to send job requests or vice versa. Additionally, the pharmacy and pharmacists can chat within the app.
Q: How many pharmacies/pharmacists do you connect each week, and what are your goals?
A: Fill In Rx currently matches approximately 30 jobs a month.
We want to become the tool of choice when pharmacies need shift coverage or pharmacists want to pick up extra shifts. Our goal is to be in every major city by the end of the year.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Fill In Rx ... is currently available only in New York. We are working on releasing in other states in the very near future.
Karen Berger, PharmD
Karen Berger, PharmD, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2001. She has worked in community pharmacies for over 17 years as a Pharmacist in Charge, staff, and floater pharmacist for a large chain. Currently, she is a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in Northern NJ. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org