First and foremost, the success of any digital platform rests on the foundation of a strong back-end that handles every process from intake to shipment – including sorting, clarifications, label generation, fulfillment, and shipment. If you rely on disparate digital systems duct-taped together with weak integrations, your entire operation will suffer.
In terms of intake, diversity is key to an accessible customer experience. Systems must accommodate the preferences of varying demographics and age groups. Look for API, EPCS, phone, and fax options at a minimum. In the end, the ability to customize is key to the scalability of the platform as new technologies release.
Additionally, ensure that the drug rule processing engine automates prescription approvals for controlled substances. This is vital if you plan to compete with Amazon on a national level for compliance with state-level and DEA laws, especially for schedule II drugs.
Pretty much everyone will agree that Amazon excels at fulfillment, and they’re only getting better. Matching their speed and accuracy requires some hefty configuration in any system, but Health Cloud can make yours extraordinarily powerful.
One of the best ways to avoid manual processes and data entry is through scannable barcodes. Barcodes allow pharmaceutical staff to quickly execute a variety of actions, including printing labels, requesting advisory leaflets, generating claims forms, and producing invoices.
Once fulfilled, tracking is a vital component to ensure that patients know when to expect delivery. Providing and delivering on expectations is a core part of the Amazon experience, and specialty pharmacies will need to deliver on that in order to thrive.
Your patient portal is like a digital front-door. First impressions are critical, and it sets your patient’s expectations for whether or not your pharmacy is trustworthy, customer-focused, and credible. If the experience is well-built and accessible on mobile, you’ll build brand equity with a look-and-feel that leverages your logo, colors, and voice. And of course, all this needs to be considered under the auspices of HIPAA.
You’ll also need some e-commerce functionality to allow members to log in, pay for prescriptions, request refills, and view their order history. This basic functionality can also integrate with the payment systems in your retail location, if you have one.
According to a survey conducted by brand loyalty company Yotpo, 52% of consumers will join a loyalty program if it’s offered. Ideally, ensure that you have a pharmacy rewards system set up the moment your digital solution goes live. This component will drive recurring revenue and convince patients to use your services. Gamify the experience so that patients are rewarded with badges, tie promotions to certain products, and create brand loyalty.
It’s also important to have an omni-channel communications strategy. This will enable you to proactively notify patients of refill status, shipping information, and more with configurable notifications that can be sent over email, text, or phone. With the right mix of messaging, you’ll be able to develop genuine relationships that earn loyalty for years to come.
You also need to provide ways for patients to engage with you. At a bare minimum, provide secure messaging that allows patients to interact with the care ecosystem. More robust systems allow for telehealth options that leverage video chat to elevate the patient experience, a feature that Amazon is providing.
Your digital experience can’t focus solely on patients. Amazon will undoubtedly provide an equally impressive experience for providers to refer patients into their ecosystem. This means that outdated referral methods like phone and fax are becoming more and more antiquated, and physicians will continue to adopt the most convenient digital referral methods – like the ones Amazon will offer.
Fortunately, there’s a solution. You can enable stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem to collaborate, submit prescriptions, and ask questions via an authenticated portal, resulting in faster script turnaround and greater patient satisfaction. And because it’s all built on one platform, the data isn’t siloed, meaning that workflows can be automated from physician referral to patient shipment.
Competition can be scary. We encourage you to view it as an opportunity to adapt, improve, and provide your patients with better experiences. And we’re here to help. Together, we can ensure that speciality pharmaceuticals remains a healthy industry that provides unique value to patients across the United States.