Dr. Rob Lapporte is co-founder and chief medical officer of Physician 360. After working in emergency departments for multiple decades, it became apparent to him that patients needed a more affordable, convenient means of obtaining health care services for simple illnesses instead of coming to the ER.
While there were already traditional telemedicine companies tied to big insurance, they lacked the basic testing capabilities that are required for proper diagnostics. These same tests that emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and doctors’ offices employ are a key part of a doctor’s decision-making process. He realized that telemedicine services coupled with diagnostic testing were a niche that had not yet been filled and became determined to push forward this inevitable change in the healthcare landscape. Partnering with Dr. Angela Fusaro and aligning on the mission, together they decided to launch Physician 360.
Throughout their journey building Physician 360, Rob has been most surprised by the priorities of the customers. Even before the coronavirus pandemic patients responded that the biggest benefit of telemedicine and testing was avoiding contagious illnesses in waiting rooms. With COVID19 posing significant risk indoors, it’s no wonder telemedicine adoption has been growing quickly during the past year.
The challenges in 2020 surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have quickly mainstreamed what Rob and Angela have been saying for years: ‘Telemedicine and remote diagnostics are the future.’ As patients avoid hospitals and waiting rooms that can spread the infection, telemedicine services, and diagnostic tests are increasingly in demand by patients across the country for everything from basic consultations to COVID testing.
In response to the expansion in the telemedicine industry, Physician 360 has been able to broaden its services and offer more products that allow independent community pharmacies to function as a comprehensive virtual health clinic and compete with urgent care facilities by offering telemedicine services. Empowering independent pharmacies by providing the tools to compete with large chains helps them serve their communities and deliver affordable care to those who need it most.
The challenges of a start-up are numerous. Making consequential decisions with incomplete information, completing risk assessments, triage of issues, and a steep learning curve day after day keeps Rob busy. While Rob and the team prepare for all potential strategic goals, there are everyday challenges as well. On top of strategic challenges and day-to-day concerns, what really pushes Rob out of his comfort zone is a constant need to predict legal obstacles while dealing with ever-changing (and often nebulous) regulations.
As the company continues to grow, Rob and Angela are continually inspired by the mission of improving patient care and partnering with independent pharmacies to improve access. Their vision feels more relevant than ever during the pandemic.