My name is Nick Garulay, and I’m the founder and CEO of My Florida Green. For me, my company is not so much a business as it is an expression of one of my great passions in life. Let me tell you about that.
I have been working in the medical software field for some time, and have been dismayed time and again by the difficulties that physicians and their patients experience in getting medical cannabis into the hands of the people it can most help. In many cases, those affected are among the most vulnerable members of our society: people with disabilities, those who are at the end of life, those who live with chronic pain, and people with serious health afflictions. I wanted to do something about that.
I’m not a doctor, so I can’t help in that way. However, I am a talented technology guy, so I felt I could do something to help. After all, the purpose of technology is to improve a process and make it easier! So, I created a patient management platform to facilitate medical marijuana certifications for both doctors and patients in the setting ofthe complicated process required by the state of Florida.
I licensed the software to a few doctors back in November2016 and began working with patients by connecting them with doctors licenced to incorporate medical marijuana into their care plan. At that time, Florida law governing the use of medical marijuana was included under the “Compassionate Care Act”, a law that was meant for “terminally ill” patients.
At that time, a doctor had to document an established relationship with a patient for at least 90 days before the patient could be listed on the Compassionate Use Registry. I saw first-hand in the patients that I was connecting with the massive frustration that this cumbersome process created, as these people were at the end of life and suffering considerably from symptoms that could have been eased by medical marijuana. Some gained access, but many did not, as they took their last breath during the waiting period.
I believe that the current law was implemented out of fear of the unknown, and an enduring stigma left over from the disastrous “War on Drugs.” Unfortunately, it’s people who could benefit from medical marijuana who pay the price while society at large and lawmakers come to understand that cannabis can not only treat a condition, but also help a patient heal.
I established a relationship with these patients that went above and beyond my professional interactions with them, and it filled me with motivation to help as best I could. I wanted not only to help them get what they needed, butalso to help them improve their quality of life. The progress I witnessed was incredible, so I went all in.
To be honest, cannabis was never a thing for me personally. I used it a couple dozen times in my 42 years in casual settings, but I never really enjoyed the feeling. THC – the psychoactive compound of the plant – does not agree with me. Having seen first-hand the effect medical marijuana can have on some people who are very sick, I’m grateful that I didn’t let my personal experience with cannabis hinder my ability to recognize that it truly is a medicinalplant.
The software I launched in 2016 is now in the past. I’ve built three more platforms since then, including an app for patients to stay in control of their profile and monitor progress. The data my team has gathered from patients and healthcare professionals have proven invaluable.
My Florida Green is a patient management platform that is licensed to compassionate physicians who believe in cannabis as a medicinal alternative, and are looking for a tool that allows them to facilitate patient engagement, prescribing, and follow-up. The software is also intended for patient use to improve their ability to properly document their response to treatment and better communicate with their physician. Physicians and patients are provided with a robust set of tools and applications that meet their specific needs and improve their contact and collaboration in the patient’s care.
It is our ultimate goal is to improve patient care by streamlining the process, reducing errors, improving communication, and ensuring state law compliance for all physicians who are interested in recommending medical marijuana for patients with debilitating conditions.
What we’ve developed can pave the way for a new form of healthcare for physicians and patients. After much gruellingwork, I am proud of the accomplishments of my team and my family, who essentially are one in the same. Together we can make a difference for physicians and patients, and I am excited for what the future holds for My Florida Green.