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Health Mart pharmacy network prescribes mobile app for health management

Nationwide pharmacy franchise Health Mart will offer patrons on-the-go prescription management options through application platform GetMyRx, a partnership which further evidences how mobile is equipping community pharmacies for the digital age with cost-effective tech.

For the first time, GetMyRx is available to New Yorkers via Health Mart, allowing patients to order new prescriptions or refills in seconds, confirm the copay upfront and get their medications delivered the same day at no extra charge. Health Mart is leading the effort to provide technology solutions that help independent pharmacies improve medication adherence, an area where community pharmacies are uniquely positioned to excel.

“All of us as consumers want our phones to provide greater utility and solutions that reinvent experiences and are focused on specific issues,” said Luis Angel, founder of GetMyRx, Chicago. “The time has come for healthcare to be disrupted by mobile.”

“Out of all prescriptions, 45 percent are new, and 30 percent of these never get filled.”

“The culprit is the hassle and time-space separation between doctors and pharmacies. GetMyRx overcomes this with convenience and eliminates the friction by allowing independent pharmacies to provide a service that is unmatched by chains through better technology and better service,” he said.

Gaining a competitive advantage
A recent Harvard University study showed that nearly one in three adults who receive a prescription never pick up the medication, generating billions in avoidable healthcare costs.

GetMyRx addresses this challenge by letting patients request prescriptions effortlessly and get free same-day delivery from a local pharmacy. In less than 5 minutes from the time of order, a push notification with copay information up front is sent to the user, a factor typically unknown until the very end of the transaction process. The platform also informs patients throughout the delivery process and if or when any prescriptions are eligible for refills 48 hours prior to depletion.

Order confirmation

GetMyRx began piloting the solution in Miami Dade six months ago and has witnessed incremental transactions in the thousands amongst a network of six pharmacies so far.

Helping pharmacies manage the treatment process and eliminate the barrier of physical presence in-store, mobile apps are just the tip of the iceberg, as the real operational efficiencies are happening behind the scenes as community pharmacies are enabled to expedite orders to app users, conduct transfers of prescriptions to more local pharmacies, and send pertinent SMS notifications to patients.

While Health Mart debuted its “Your Pharmacy Online” mobile app last October which allows patients to refill prescriptions, partnership with GetMyRx brings added value to the pharmacy’s digital communications capabilities, letting the pharmacy and patients interact in a new and convenient way via improved patient medication adherence and increased prescription volume.

Mainstream rivalry
A 2012 Deloitte survey of 613 U.S. primary care and specialist physicians selected from the American Medical Association found that 19 percent of health care providers offer their patients a Web-based program to refill prescriptions online. While many retail pharmacies offer apps with prescription refill functionalities, others have just begun to enter the market.

Walgreens recently introduced an application programming interface that allows mobile developers to fuse Walgreen’s existing prescription tech with a different app. While some customers may be satisfied by the store’s current app offerings, someone else might be more in favor of using the service in addition to an app they already use.

While the nature of pharmacy apps are meant to be medical, patients are beginning to more regularly integrate refill options into their daily routines. Going to the pharmacy typically entails a supermarket or convenience store experience which is reflected in many apps offered by merchants such as CVS and Walgreens.  If an interested party searches for the CVS pharmacy app in the Apple app store, it will be found in the Lifestyle & Food category, not Health & Fitness.

Many chain pharmacies incorporate rewards and one-stop-shop offers that seek to make filling a prescription more of an experience than a task. Consequently, mobile is the latest weapon in Walmart’s arsenal as it continues to build a pharmacy business and compete with leading drugstore chains (see story).

Pharmacy services have been a focus for Walmart for several years, with the chain introducing $4 generic prescriptions, in-store health clinics and now mobile services since April, as it looks to lure customers away from the leading drugstores. While the discount giant recently added prescription refills and other pharmacy services to its mobile app for the first time, it has a long way to go to catch up with Walgreens, which see more than 40 percent of online prescription refills from mobile.

Customers who have the Walmart app on their phones can now refill a prescription with just a few taps or scan the label on a prescription bottle to refill it. Users can refill any Walmart prescription without an account, view their order history, prescription expiration dates and how many refills they have left.

While mainstream chains continue to battle on in-app refill offerings, they have yet to address the issue of unclaimed prescriptions due to consumer time constraints.

“GetMyRx ties up the ordering process with a same-day delivery service that CVS and Walgreens do not provide,” Mr. Angel said.

“Because the big players are underexploited, our service enables independent pharmacies to reach a wider audience and patients to transmit information for new and existing prescriptions or refill more seamlessly and free.”

Final Take
Michelle  is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York