Prescription delivery programs are gaining traction in the pharmacy industry. While independent pharmacists have been offering home deliveries for years, other players are getting into the game. CVS and Walgreens have recently started offering home delivery for their medications. Both companies charge for the service and typically offer delivery within 1-2 days of ordering, showing that they are still a step or two behind most independent pharmacy delivery programs.
However, Amazon also entered the prescription delivery industry recently with PillPack. They offer free delivery, automatic refills, and adherence packaging for its members to make managing medication easier.
How can an independent pharmacy compete with that? By giving its customers what Amazon cannot: a personal touch.
Independent Pharmacies’ Prescription Delivery Services Are The New House Calls
Decades ago, doctors would often visit patients in their homes to provide care. In the 1930s, as much as 40 percent of physician/patient interactions happened in the patient’s home. However, the rise of hospitals and clinics led to a sharp decline in the number of physicians who would make house calls. By the 1980s, that number had plummeted to less than 1 percent.
Many patients seeking care are non-ambulatory. Some have chronic diseases that make office visits difficult, if not nearly impossible. In the past, these patients could have relied on their physicians to come to their homes to treat them. But a doctor who still makes house calls is practically one in a million.
Taking Clinical Care to a New Level for Pharmacies
With the rise of clinical care in pharmacies, it only makes sense for pharmacists to pick up where physicians left off. Home deliveries provide a new point-of-care for pharmacists, providing the possibility for dedicated and recurring one-on-one time between them and their patients.
Many pharmacists have dedicated delivery drivers, and there’s no reason why they couldn’t continue to do so. However, the benefit of having a pharmacist deliver prescriptions to certain patients can’t be denied. For someone who can’t make it to the pharmacy, having an actual pharmacist come to them and provide consultations, MTM, and other clinical services could be life-changing.
The Key to More Patient Time AND Better Medication Adherence
According to a recent article in Drug Topics, pharmacists only spend about one-tenth of their time working directly with patients — far less than the three-fourths they would like. But a pharmacist could increase their patient time by delivering prescriptions to their patients.
Having their prescriptions delivered increases medication adherence in patients. It removes a variable from the equation; patients don’t always refill and pick up their prescriptions when they should. Sometimes they’re busy. Sometimes they don’t have a way to get to the pharmacy. Maybe it’s not a priority for them. But delivering it right to them? It guarantees that any adherence lapses aren’t due to availability.
Offering the Personal Touch That Online Pharmacies Cannot
Online pharmacies offer a new level of convenience for customers. With just a few clicks, they can get their prescriptions filled and mailed right to their front door. They don’t have to leave their house, navigate traffic, or wait in any lines in the store.
What they’re missing, however, is the personal touch. Why should a patient settle for a package on their doorstep when they can see a familiar face? One of the things patients enjoy most about independent pharmacies is that they don’t feel like a number. They’re more than just a name on a bottle. Taking the time to personally deliver medication to your patient? That’s the kind of service that builds loyalty.
Improve Your Delivery Program with Med Sync
As an independent pharmacy, you should already be using med sync to streamline your operations and improve medication adherence in your patients. It also has the benefit of putting all your enrollees’ medications on a monthly schedule, making regular patient consultation far more manageable. But did you know that med sync can also be invaluable to your delivery program? When your delivery patients are also enrolled in med sync, that means only one delivery to their house per month instead of several. Many pharmacists we’ve talked to have suggested implementing a med sync program by enrolling your delivery patients first. Doing so will allow you to either expand your delivery list or reduce the amount of time you dedicate to deliveries. Either way, it’s a win.
The competition between big box stores and independent pharmacies continues. And while all different types of pharmacies — big box, independent, and online — offer delivery, only independent pharmacies give patients a more personal delivery experience. That’s the edge that continues to set independent pharmacies apart from other options: the personal touch.