CVS On-Demand Prescription Delivery?
Are You Doing Delivery & Marketing Effectively?
Did you know Americans waste over 8 million hours per day waiting to get their prescriptions filled? In a world where convenience is key and things are getting faster and easier, getting your prescription filled should be no different and that expectation will be spreading throughout the U.S. pretty quickly as new third party companies offering pharmaceutical delivery services pop up around town and market directly to your consumers. A few weeks ago I drove by a CVS that had a 20 foot sign saying “We Deliver” and I had to do a double take. Now don’t get me wrong, I have seen quite a few Independent Pharmacies in my day that offer delivery services so it’s nothing new, but CVS wow. That was always a great differentiator for Independent Pharmacies. Then it made me think that “most” of the Independents I know do not market that they offer delivery services, the convenience of it, and the benefit of saving time and potentially scheduling a drop off time that works with their schedule.
Well… Why not? I remember a presentation I attended where the speaker started with there are innovators who are evolving and then there are dinosaurs. Well… We all know how that story ended for the Dinosaurs so we won’t go into detail but let’s just say there aren’t too many of them around last time we checked. Are you the innovator or the dinosaur? If one CVS is offering this service and marketing it with a huge 20 foot sign, even if it is a pilot program (I have only seen the sign at one store) then I suggest you evolve and not only offer this service, but market it as a convenience so you do not lose additional market share to the big guys. Most Independent Pharmacies probably don’t offer delivery due to potential legalities, maybe it is lack of additional resources, or just debating overall if it is feasible and it makes business sense. I say find a way even if it is next day delivery only during specific times to help from a cost and logistics standpoint.
With over a third of prescriptions not being filled for patients with insurance, studies show it is mostly due to patients being too busy and not having a convenient outlet to get their prescription filled within their availability. Imagine networking with your local companies and providing them a service to deliver their employees prescriptions in a confidential manner? I assume a small percentage would take you up on that offer although what does 500 new patients mean to your pharmacy? Get 100 local companies on board at an average of 5 employees per company taking advantage of this perk, with the average American filling 12 prescriptions per year that equates to an additional 6,000 prescriptions filled annually. For most Independent Pharmacies that is similar to adding an additional month to the calendar year.
Many of these prescriptions by not being filled create additional health risks that have a direct effect on employee performance. A healthy employee is a productive employee. It’s a win win for everyone. Take it a step further… After building a relationship with a company imagine distributing flu shots. I worked for a large corporation that had a blood mobile offering blood donation services and they visited us quarterly. How would this be any different? They would have probably jumped at the opportunity to offer such a service during flu season to help with employee attendance and productivity. As Independent Pharmacist’s and business owners we have to continuously evolve and find new revenue opportunities in which a demand can be created, even if it is a new market and unchartered waters.
In New York City, New York a local business ZipDrug has created a phone App for on demand prescription delivery service from any licensed pharmacy within the city in which the doctor submits a prescription electronically, 7 days per week, 8am – 10pm, with the exception of controlled substances. How convenient? I love it! The company’s goal is to master their concept and expand to other cities. Patients enter their insurance information on the App, schedule a delivery at their convenience, get updates on the delivery, have the ability to communicate with the driver, and even make their copayment directly on the App. The App also reminds patients of refills with an easy to refill your prescription and schedule your delivery button directly on your phone.
- Market and we suggest a big sign saying WE DELIVER. With Americans looking for new faster ways the sign alone can draw attention and new patients which may not need the service although the sign acted as a reminder that you exist.
- Why stop at Prescriptions? Especially in small towns it is a great resource to get upsell opportunities and deliver other goods along with the prescription. Need vitamins, DME’s, etc.? A quick phone call beforehand to your patients with a proper discovery you may find that your patients have additional needs that you can be of immediate assistance and convenience.
I recently spoke with Ravi Shah, PharmD from Harlingen Pharmacy out of Harlingen, TX that has a (BIG) sign on their pharmacy that they deliver. I asked him what results this has provided to his business and below is a synopsis of his response:
“It has increased revenue although in Healthcare it is not always about generating revenue. It is about the patient engagement. If Pharmacists view delivery the same as a face to face interaction it becomes part of your overhead. Geographical area and population density have a direct effect on how easy it is for a pharmacy to be able to offer delivery services, in our area we service a radius of 30-35 miles. Where it has really made a difference is in our community. For example we work with Hospice to deliver medications so the nursing staff can spend more time on patient care. It’s about helping patients and making a difference which is why we became Pharmacists.”
Well said Ravi! Show your support and like Harlingen Pharmacy’s FB page (Here)
Pharmacy Items Delivered By Drone at the Push of a Button
So close… The future WAS almost here: Drone delivery! A company out of San Francisco (http://quiqui.me/) brought to the market a Pharma Drone Delivery service. Unfortunately Amazon brought a lot of attention to the Drone Delivery market and the FAA banned domestic delivery services by drone until further notice. The company planned on making deliveries to SF’s Mission District by drone 24 hours a day for a $1 delivery fee with orders being dropped off to patients in 15 minutes or less. Wow! That would have been an amazing concept to see take flight.
California and Oregon Lead the Charge
Contraceptives Prescribed By Pharmacists
Two groundbreaking laws have passed in California and Oregon allowing Pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives for birth control without a doctor’s prescription. After a quick screening process which includes a questionnaire about their health and medical history. Insurance companies will cover it as usual. This is not only convenient for the client, it is a great opportunity for Independent Pharmacies in these two states to capitalize and increase foot traffic and build a new personal one on one relationship with a new demographic that may have just come in for a quick prescription fill in the past.
Although overall support for these changes have been great this far, it does not come without opposition including The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists which believes contraceptives should be available solely over the counter as it is in other countries with the downfall being the issue whether it will be covered under the Affordable Health Care Act which is requiring insurance companies to cover contraception. Will that remain if they are over the counter? Nobody knows.
Beverly Schaefer, co-owner of Katterman’s Sand Point Pharmacy in Seattle charges a $35 fee to prescribe contraceptives due to it being uncertain if Insurance companies will pay for the time that a Pharmacist spends with a patient. A Physician out of New York chimed in on a New York Times blog post regarding this topic which was encouraging as if anyone would have an issue with a change like this would be them as they lose the additional revenue:
“This move to allow Pharmacists to prescribe birth control pills seems a welcome development. But there should be some oversight by a Physician such as the women are prescribed by a Physician after a physical and some risks like proclivity to Deep Vein Thrombosis is eliminated. Also, any complaints or side-effects reported to the Pharmacist should immediately be conveyed to a Physician and the requirement that the woman will see her Physician. That would make this a fool-proof plan, cutting down costs as well.”
Although my personal favorite post was from C. Camille Lau out of Eagle River, Anchorage
“It seems reasonable to assume that making contraceptives easier to obtain should result in fewer unwanted pregnancies which should result in fewer abortions, medical risks and costs. Excuse me, but did something political just make sense? I’ve forgotten that could happen!”