Every vertical of every industry that’s kept up with times now employs some kind of digital product to help with business processes – the pharmaceutical industry is no exception as many use digital pharmacy products to help make their lives a little easier. Today’s pharmacists and pharmacies are taking advantage of software designed to help in a couple of key areas that include improving productivity and enhancing customer service. In addition, new platforms that recently emerged are changing the game in how customers access patient care and their medications.
We’re going to start by first taking a look at a few new platforms on the market that are designed to empower patients by giving them more control over how they access treatment. We’ll also take a look at a couple of popular products that pharmacists use themselves to make better decisions faster then discuss takeaways by reflecting on what makes these products so useful.
Overview of new entrants into the pharmacy space
New apps that offer a novel customer experience are beginning to impact the pharmaceutical industry by furnishing business with modern tools that parallel other convenient, on-demand services. Today, we can summon an Uber, Lyft, or even a Blade from our smart devices with minimal effort so we project these expectations onto other businesses.
A few new platforms bring a modern edge to areas of pharmacy, thus bringing this vertical of medicine into the modern era:
- Capsule. Much like a DoorDash for medication, Capsule is a pharmaceutical service that delivers medications on-demand to customer doors. Users that transfer their scripts to Capsule can have their medications delivered for free, even when using insurance. As they accept most insurance, users simply need to pay their copay to enjoy same-day medication delivery on-demand.
- Hims and Hers. These sister services cater to providing specialized medication based on the user’s biological sex. Hims caters to men by providing a shopping platform that furnishes items for conditions such as hair loss, erectile dysfunction, and skincare, to name a few. Hers does much of the same except items are geared specifically for women with products such as birth control, skin treatment formulas for women, and more.
- Lemonaid. The Lemonaid platform provides a set of complementary services such as telehealth services to diagnose certain conditions and medication delivery. Users that visit the site simply need to select a condition from the menu then follow the funnel to set up a virtual office visit with one of Lemonaid’s licensed physicians. Depending on the condition and medication, Lemonaid offers a delivery service that sends medication directly to a customer’s door.
- Amazon Pharmacy. A newly launched service from Amazon allows individuals to fill their scripts through the retail giant where Amazon Prime members can enjoy free two-day shipping and as much as 80% off generics. Currently, this Amazon Pharmacy is available in 45 states and will accept most insurance plans – to use the service, new customers simply need to tell their doctors that they want to use Amazon Pharmacy at which point medical staff should be able to send prescription information through the portal to have their prescriptions filled.
A look at a few popular apps used by pharmacists
Just as customers are using digital products for their pharmaceutical needs, pharmacists are using apps to make their jobs a little easier. This, in turn, positively impacts the level of care they’re able to provide to their customers.
A few of the more popular pharmacy apps include:
- Pocket Pharmacist. This app for the App Store gives pharmacists a resource to access drug information in an instant. All the information provided by the app is pharmacist curated with unbiased information, revealing complete drug profile summaries with just a simple search. When dealing with unfamiliar or uncommon scripts, pharmacists are better equipped to serve their customers by first consulting this app should any questions arise.
- Epocrates. Available on both Google Play and the App Store, this is another app that serves the medical community by furnishing drug information in addition to providing a couple of other great features. Paying users can access premium features such as clinical decision support to help aid in selecting drug treatment for a patient. Doctors and pharmacists can also access information on medications such as drug interactions and adverse reactions as well as tools like a dosing calculator and pill identifier.
We further reached out to Nick Sciacca, an Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency Director for Community Health Network, and learned that he uses the Sanford Guide and UpToDate to aid in clinical decision making. The Sanford Guide is a recognized resource for medical professionals that covers infectious diseases, shedding light on clinical syndromes as well as providing comprehensive treatment information, such as dosing scales for medication. UpToDate is another similar tool that some institutions extend to their staff to use as an official resource for research which aids physicians and other medical professionals in clinical decision making.
What makes these sites and apps so great?
Many businesses have moved toward “as-a-service” models because this is what customers have come to expect and desire. In the first section, we covered a few apps that accomplish this by providing customers access to an unprecedented level of care from their homes. Services like Capsule, Lemonaid, and Amazon Pharmacy are helping to usher in a new age where “treatment as a service” will become commonplace.
In addition, with pharmacists turning to apps to supplement their knowledge when dealing with the unfamiliar, this helps in a couple of ways. It allows them to work faster by circumventing the need to consult less-accessible resources which means less wait time for their customers.
More importantly, as pharmacists are the last line of defense before a prescription is issued, these apps can alert them to potential conflicts in prescriptions. Combining certain meds can cause anywhere from mild effects of discomfort to lasting, permanent damage—or even death. Further, not all meds come in pre-measured pill form from a pharmacy meaning that the meds need to be compounded which is quite common when in scenarios where medication needs to be augmented because of some conflict (e.g., interaction with another medication or an allergy), as well as when manufacturing medications for animals.
Companies that are looking to build a digital product for pharmaceutical purposes should reflect on the value that on-demand services provide their customers. For those looking to build software for pharmacists or other medical professionals, it’s important to understand that brevity and accuracy are key.
Blue Label Labs can help you build your idea for pharmacy software
Blue Label Labs epicenter is solution architecture – everything from the big picture to granular details is captured in our design and output. Through analysis of existing pharmaceutical apps and the untapped market, we can help businesses figure out the ideal build for a digital pharmacy product as well as how to market it. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you build software for pharmaceutical needs.
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