Kakehashi Looks to Modernize Pharmacies with AWS and Amplify

April 12, 2021 Mikey Tom

For being an industry that so many people depend on, few would describe the healthcare space as “user friendly.” And while this is an issue in most places around the world, it’s especially pronounced in Japan, a country whose elderly citizens make up for the largest proportion of its population.

Japan’s government has enacted many policies aimed at helping innovation thrive within the medical field, but support is also needed from the private sector. That’s where Kakehashi comes in.

Founded in 2016, the Tokyo-based startup is on a mission to bring efficiency to the way pharmacies are run by offering a platform that takes away the menial tasks and enables pharmacists to focus on the most impactful work.

“When looking at the way pharmacies in Japan historically have been run, there are a few glaring places where technology could be applied to drive innovation,” says CTO Satoshi Ebihara. “For example, much of a pharmacist’s time used to be taken up by handwriting prescription histories, a task that could be completed much more efficiently.”

Satoshi Ebihara, CTO

Satoshi Ebihara, CTO

To address that specific problem, Ebihara and team first built Musubi, an electronic records system that streamlines the creation of a patient’s drug history through a slick, tablet-based onboarding process. Previously, pharmacists would handwrite all patient histories, making it difficult for them to focus on tasks that would add more value. With Musubi, a draft of that history is automatically created as soon as the medication guidance is given to the patient, reducing errors and freeing up pharmacist’s time.

The team at Kakehashi has continued to innovate and build products that offer further efficiencies to their customers. The ability to quickly develop, test, and launch is key, and they lean on AWS Amplify’s suite of tools and services to help do just that.

“Amplify has been great in helping us bring to market two high-impact new services,” says Ebihara. “Specifically, our team leveraged Amplify’s suite of tools to build a CRM system that helps pharmacists track their interactions with customers (which includes a popular feature that allows for online chat), as well as an automated prescription ordering system.”

For the CRM service, there are three different applications needed; one or the patients, one for the pharmacists, and one for Kakehashi’s staff. “Using Amplify to host all three applications made it really easy to individually develop and update each, while also ensuring they work seamlessly together,” says Atsushi Taneoka, Software Engineer at Kakehashi.

Beyond just ease of development, the team has also enjoyed how Amplify helps speed up dev cycles by taking on much of the infrastructure management, per Taku Hiramatsu, who is also a software engineer at the startup. “Using Amplify, we’ve been able to move really quickly with a small team. Our prescription inventory control and ordering system requires us to manage many domains, but the Amplify console makes that process quite easy. We also love how quickly we can expand our environments based on where we are in the development cycle. We started with one dev environment, but easily were able to create staging and production through the console.”

Looking ahead, the team at Kakehashi appears well positioned to lead in an industry of growing importance. Building tools to help pharmacists better operate and, in turn, offer better healthcare, is a noble task indeed. With $50 million in funding and no lack of ambition, the future is bright for both Kakehashi and their customers.

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