Pharmacy Mobile Apps and Pharmacy Phone Applications.
Pharmacy mobile apps are appearing everywhere now. Most pharmacy phone applications for both the iPhone and Androids are available for free and are attracting a lot of media attention. Just last week two reviews were published regarding new pharmacy mobile phone apps that are worth taking a look at.
Upgraded Walmart Mobile Pharmacy App
– The first is the upgraded Walmart Rx mobile app. Walmart has had a pharmacy phone app for quite a while, but just upgraded its mobile app in an attempt to help customers order their prescriptions prior to coming to the store. Patients using the app can now expect their medications to be ready for pickup and Wal-Mart is hoping that customers will find this much more convenient. Additionally, Walmart will have “Pharmacy Express Lanes” setup. These “Pharmacy Express Lanes” will allow customers to not only pick up their prescriptions quickly, but will allow them to pay securely through using the app. Although many view Walmart’s claim that it estimates that the mobile app upgrade with secure payment will reduce the wait time for customers to “under a minute”, everyone agrees that it will speed things up (Please note that Walmart estimates that it’s current pharmacy prescription pickup wait time is 6-11 minutes).
What makes Walmart’s release of its upgraded mobile app so newsworthy is the company’s long-term philosophical view of its pharmacy business. Walmart historically used their pharmacies as a means to generating increased sales. The pharmacies were a “loss leader” for the giant retail chain. Offering prescription medications at pricing lower than any local independent retail community pharmacy could match, Walmart established tremendous Rx volumes with a very small profit margin. The theory was to attract a very large customer base who then spent additional money shopping at the retailer while their prescriptions took time to fill. Not so different than the frontend merchandise found in most traditional retail independent pharmacies of the past. So why would Walmart want their mobile app to reduce the customer’s wait time and perhaps spend less money on a visit to the store? There are numerous reasons, but let’s keep in mind that their pharmacy departments does account for almost 10% of Walmart’s total gross revenues:
1. Consumers these days expect it! Especially those of the younger generation and demographics who basically drive the development and use of the mobile applications. As was stated by Steve Jobs years ago, “it’s not really about the phone itself, it’s about the apps”. Many people value convenience over price savings, so reducing wait times potentially could draw more customers to Walmart’s pharmacies.
2. Walmart realized that the mobile app could additionally increase their overall online sales. If the upgraded app results in customers using it more often and frequently, it is an opportunity for Walmart to see an upswing in its market share of Internet retail sales.
3. Walmart as a company has been a frontrunner in the corporate move to “paperless”. Many view the “paperless” route as the future, and by making pharmacy transactions paperless through the app and digital payment options, Walmart moves one step closer to its goal.
African Medication Sharing Mobile Pharmacy App
– The second mobile pharmacy app getting a lot of media attention is an African app produced in Senegal intended to cut medical costs via a community ‘virtual pharmacy’. Families using the mobile app can exchange leftover medication for new prescriptions and thereby reduce wasted medicines and save money. The mobile application basically lets users trade in unused, packaged medicines using a “points system”. The “points” can then be used to purchase new prescriptions and medications when needed. The actual transaction or exchanges take place at hospitals, health centers or pharmacies by licensed professionals. Named JokkoSante, the mobile app is founded by Adama Kane. According to Kane “The idea is to create a medicine box for the whole community”.
In an important move forward for the app last week, a partnership with its first hospital was reported by Reuters News. The app has gone through a 2 year pilot trial and Kane’s plan is for over 300,000 families in Senegal to be using the app by next year. With over a thousand current users plus the new partnership, Kane plans to expand internationally, reaching six African countries by the end of the year and 15 by 2020.
Kane spent several years developing the mobile app based on the fact that up to 75% of Senegalese health spending was on prescriptions and medications. “Most health programs are focused on providing care, but there hasn’t been any ambitious project yet to address the accessibility of medicine,” Kane said.
It is important to note that the French telecoms giant Orange (plus several other corporate partners) backed the web app production financially. Although this phone app meets a real need and is philanthropic in nature, the end result is making a profit by spreading throughout Africa and perhaps even to European nations.
Pharmacy Mobile App Planning, Development and Implementation
To make the conclusion that pharmacy mobile apps are now the future is pretty easy. A decade ago it was hard to see the reasoning behind the development of pharmacy mobile apps, but today it is clear that they both meet the needs and demands of the consumers, plus lead to increased profits. HealthCare Consultants can help if you have an idea for developing a mobile application for pharmacy. HCC has embraced technology for over 27 years now. Known for being “early adapters”, our in house staff of pharmacy consultants include IT and web development experts. HCC can assist you in the process of planning, developing and implementing a pharmacy mobile application as part of our Pharmacy Technology Consulting Services.
If you are contemplating developing a pharmacy app, the time to take action is now! Let us help you be successful by contacting us today for a Free Consultation. Reach us online or call today at 800-642-1652.