January 9, 2024

Drug Information Innovation: Derek Borkowski

by Lilyanna Ritenour

The digital interface continues to revolutionize healthcare. In a recent episode of DISRxUPT, the official podcast of the Cedarville University Center for Pharmacy Innovation, Derek Borkowski reveals how he engineered a novel drug information application, Pyrls, to meet a personal need that now serves thousands of other healthcare professionals. Learn how Pyrls is aiding health professionals and elevating patient care.

Continuing a legacy, pursuing a passion

Derek Borkowski, raised in Minnesota, comes from a lineage of pharmacists. His family’s background in pharmacy inspired him to pursue a career as a pharmacist from a young age. He observed firsthand the impact his family made on the health and well-being of community members. Derek developed a passion for serving as a community pharmacist.

Derek gained community pharmacy experience as a student where he had the opportunity to expand his skillset and apply his knowledge to real patient populations. It was his responsibility to counsel every patient who walked through the independent pharmacy’s door. He would review the drug references from the pharmacy and his school to prepare for each consultation, checking the key counseling points with his preceptor. However, Derek saw an opportunity for improvement as he completed this work. The process of sorting through loads of information to determine what each patient should be educated on was both tedious and laborious. Thus, he had the idea to organize this drug information more simply and efficiently. Derek had a unique background in technology, which allowed him to develop a website that streamlined drug information tailored to his specific need. Today, this innovation is known as Pyrls. Pyrls is a website and mobile app that provides a variety of drug information resources and is trusted by over 50,000 healthcare professionals.

The evolution of Pyrls

Derek obtained an internship with Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which is now known as Vitro in Pittsburgh. Mylan Pharmaceuticals emphasized digital health and provided special sessions surrounding this for their interns. This provided Derek with a notable perspective and a unique skillset he was passionate about growing in. Derek then interned for a physician at MyMeds, and his supervisor encouraged him to learn website coding. Derek had an innovative mindset and persistently presented new ideas to his product manager. He discovered how tangible his ideas were and diligently honed in on the skills needed to accomplish them.

These past experiences unequivocally fostered Derek with the growth mindset and ingenuity that produced Pyrls. Derek handcrafted the interface and built a collaborative team of other innovative healthcare professionals to personally construct their content. Pyrls includes basic drug information but furthermore provides the clinician with counseling points, drug selection guidance, and statistical graphs. Pyrls is a peer-reviewed tertiary drug resource that houses data on over 800 drugs and continues to expand. It offers a user-friendly approach and is updated regularly as guidelines continue to evolve and new drugs emerge.

The key to success

Over the years, the platform has matured immensely proving to be an effective way to combine pharmacy practice and digital technology. Derek believes it is important to identify your strengths and collaborate on your weaknesses. He united a team of medical professionals dedicated to developing his website in-house. A key component in their expansion was identifying their ideal customer profile. Derek advises aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators to commit to one community, provide them with a 10/10 experience, prioritize carefully, and be prepared to pivot. Derek and his team are always open to feedback and aim to meet the desired needs of their targeted community, students, and practitioners. Marketing is key and targeting the correct audience will transform your success in this diverse industry.

To gain a greater insight into the innovative thought behind Derek Borkowksi’s novel drug platform, Pyrls, listen to the full podcast episode of DISRxUPT. You can also learn more by visiting Pyrls online to experience firsthand this groundbreaking resource thousands of trusted clinicians are already taking advantage of.

Lilyanna Ritenour is currently in her junior year studying pharmaceutical science at Cedarville University. She is committed to her future career in healthcare and aspires to provide a personalized patient care experience in a pediatric setting.

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