Post Pandemic: How Pharmacies are Evolving in the Digital Age

Dr Anthony Do
December 14, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about rapid changes for many types of businesses, especially pharmacies. In addition to providing their standard duties during the pandemic, such as administering the vaccines, pharmacies across the country still have the same mission — to provide essential and at times, lifesaving products to their customers, wherever they are.

Last year, a lot of independent pharmacies encountered an increase in demand as customers turned to their local pharmacists for medical help and advice, due to the limited accessibility of their doctors as a repercussion of the pandemic. Now that restrictions have been lifted across the country, many pharmacy care services are evolving to meet market needs brought on by COVID-19.

How pharmacies are responding:

As a result of the pandemic, CVS saw a 10-fold increase in pharmacy home deliveries in the first three months of 2020. Across the US pharmacists, consumers and patients of all ages appeared more comfortable and willing to engage digitally than before. Exercising virtual capabilities from digitally chatting with their local pharmacist to transferring chronic medications from retail to home delivery.

Industry experts say that younger patients, with fewer prescriptions and accustomed to ordering online, are likely to embrace technology like telehealth and stick with it. And for patients who simply aren’t able to visit a pharmacy on their own, home delivery is a necessity, not just a convenience.

More and more independently owned pharmacies are beginning to explore ways to deliver prescriptions that are flexible, affordable, and don’t significantly add to their organizational workload. Unlike other businesses, pharmacies must maintain medication integrity in transit and also comply with the additional standards of HIPAA, which mandate certain procedures to ensure patient privacy.

Ways to get started: (with delivery and logistics)

  1. Hire your own drivers. This is a great option if you have the time and manpower to handle a fleet of drivers. Though necessary, hiring HIPAA-compliant drivers can be a finicky and time-consuming process. You have to factor in preparing contracts, onboard training, delivery tracking, driver management, patient-recipient communication, and not to mention an increase in liability due to the possibility of car accidents. All of this can take focus away from the most important part of a pharmacist’s job - tending to their patients.
  2. Use a delivery platform or service to take care of your deliveries as needed. Although we rely on these services to provide transportation and deliver goods, life-saving medications require more caution. As a pharmacy, it is crucial to have transparency and consistency and though these services can facilitate basic delivery, you are not working with the same trusted driver each time which can be problematic long term. Additionally, many courier companies are not HIPAA compliant and may not take the necessary precaution to deliver certain medications. For instance, controlled substances that are extremely time and temperature-sensitive, when improperly handled, can potentially lead to a loss of up to tens of thousands of dollars.
  3. Use a company or a platform that understands medication handling and pharmacy-specific delivery. This can take the guesswork out for the pharmacy, with the added benefit of not having to worry about HIPAA compliance, background checking, driver management, logistics, tracking, etc. With the right company, you can provide transparency and peace of mind to your patients. Additionally if a patient has a query with their delivery, they can connect directly with the pharmacy delivery company, relieving you of the supervision and many phone calls deliveries often cause.

However you look at it, locally-owned pharmacies are struggling to compete against the large chain stores. It’s time to join the health tech revolution, in leveraging new technologies and strategies in order to advance and level the playing field.  

Rx Delivered Now enables and connects pharmacies with HIPAA-trained, background-checked drivers to ensure patients’ privacy and safety. We have taken the guesswork out of prescription delivery - we provide not only compliance, but also transparency and communication to both the pharmacy and patients, hence supporting businesses’ reputations and driving patient adherence through our platform.