Digital pharmacies have grown 17% in the last year. And the majority of these new users are between the ages of 17 and 34.
Statistics like these suggest that digital pharmacies are not only here to stay, but they may disrupt the traditional pharmacy model significantly in the coming years.
That means if you run a healthcare clinic, adding a digital pharmacist offering could be just what you need to prepare yourself for the future.
If you’re wondering how to do that, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about becoming a digital pharmacy.
What is a digital pharmacy, exactly?
Let’s begin with a quick overview of what a digital pharmacy is so that we’re on the same page.
A digital pharmacy is like a traditional pharmacy that patients can order from, but the process occurs online. These companies handle the entire prescription process digitally, from consultation to medication delivery.
Customers enjoy using digital pharmacies because they’re ultra-convenient. An individual who previously would’ve had to go to a doctor’s office, get a prescription and then go pick up their medication can get what they need without ever having to leave their home.
Understanding their position in the healthcare industry
As of today, the best way to describe digital pharmacies is as a growing trend in the healthcare industry. They make an inconvenient process much more convenient and are, therefore, projected to grow in the coming years.
But the vast majority of this growth has yet to occur. Research shows that digital pharmacies still account for just 1% of all U.S. pharmacy sales.
That means if you’re considering getting started with one, now could be a great time to do so. It would allow you to gain an early foothold in a developing market segment that could be sizable in the near future.
How digital pharmacies help healthcare clinics engage patients
Patient engagement is a big deal for healthcare clinics.
Those who do it well tend to have higher levels of patient satisfaction. That usually means these clinics have more loyal patients, which means they hold on to a higher percentage of their business over time.
Investing in creating a digital pharmacy can be an excellent strategy for boosting your patient engagement numbers.
A digital pharmacy is a patient engagement tool because it gives your patients access to more healthcare services from the comfort of home. This makes it much easier for them to stay engaged with your clinic since they would be able to do so without having to visit you in person.
The components of a great digital pharmacy
The first step towards engaging your patients with digital pharmacists is understanding what makes this service popular in the first place. That way, you can make sure that you emphasize those features while building out your platform.
Here are the three main components of a great digital pharmacy.
At the beginning of 2018, only about 25% of physicians offered telehealth services.
By 2020, that number was up to 80%. The dramatic increase signals a growing consumer demand for telehealth.
Your practice will need to tap into this to become a true digital pharmacy. Offering telehealth consultations is the first step towards satisfying your patients’ medication needs online.
Next up is home delivery. The best digital pharmacies make it as easy as possible for their patients to get their medications delivered straight to their doorsteps. Yours should do the same.
Finally, it’s also important to have a strong mobile app as a digital pharmacy.
That’s because you want your patients to feel as though they have complete control over their medications without having to visit you in person to make changes.
There’s a clear demand for these types of apps in the United States, with about 68.7 million people using health apps across the country.
Getting started with a digital pharmacy
Now that we know what a digital pharmacy is and what features make it a patient favorite, let’s start laying the groundwork for creating a digital pharmacy. Here are four tips to help you get started.
Set up a telehealth service
The first part of this process is making sure that you’re able to provide your patients with consultations online. That way, you can prescribe them the medications that they need without them having to visit your clinic.
When setting up a telehealth service, make sure that you comply with all local regulations. Yours will vary based on your location, but it’s important to follow them so that you don’t put your patients’ confidential information at risk of being exposed.
It’s also a good idea to check in with your patients before starting to build a telehealth service. You can ask them what they would value in a telehealth service and then make sure that you add that to your final product.
Doing this will ensure that you’re not spending time and money on creating a product that isn’t actually an ideal match for your patients’ preferences.
Upgrade your mobile app
Mobile apps are another big part of digital pharmacies. Patients enjoy being able to manage their prescriptions in the palm of their hands. And you want to make sure that you provide them with that capability so that they don’t choose a competitor who will.
A key aspect of this is creating a patient portal that users can access via a mobile app. Patient portals keep patients in touch with prescribers and give them more control over and insight into their health.
Partner with a prescription delivery company
Next up is figuring out how you’re going to deliver those prescriptions to your patients. One of the easiest options is to partner with a company that’s already doing prescription deliveries.
This can be a good choice because you won’t have to build out the logistics capability on your end. It means you could get your digital pharmacy up and running faster than would otherwise be possible.
That being said, you may prefer to handle your operations independently from end to end. That’s certainly an option. But you’ll have to buy trucks, hire delivery drivers and invest in the framework that you need to safely and efficiently carry out deliveries.
This may pay off for you in the long run with a bigger profit margin over time. But it could take a bit for you to recoup your initial investment.
Make it easy for in-clinic patients to access your online services
It’s also a good move to make sure that your in-clinic patients can access your online services at the clinic. That’s true for a few reasons.
First, the primary way that new patients will find out about your digital pharmacy service is through visiting your clinic. If you give those patients who express an interest in the service the ability to sign up at your clinic, they’re much likelier to actually use it in the future.
Additionally, you want to make the transition between your in-person offerings and your online ones as seamless as possible. Allowing patients to access your digital pharmacy at your clinic makes that much easier to do.
Digital signage for a digital pharmacy
If you want your patients to be capable of accessing their digital pharmacy account at your clinic, digital signage is the best way to make that happen. It lets you set up interactive kiosks that patients can use to access their accounts.
The other cool thing is that you can use your digital signage kiosks for more than one purpose.
For example, you may invest in this technology to set up access points for your digital pharmacy. But you can also use those screens to allow patients to check themselves in and to advertise your clinic’s most important offerings.
UPshow makes it easier to become a digital pharmacy
If you think that digital signage is the best way to optimize your digital pharmacy, then you have to check out UPshow. Our digital signage software makes it incredibly easy to manage your in-clinic access points.
You can also use UPshow to keep your patients entertained while they wait with more than 500 channels of streaming video to choose from. Or, use our software to create customized ads that help engage your patients in other ways.
With UPshow, you get a versatile tool that can help you take your clinic to the next level.So why wait? Take the first step towards a better version of your clinic by reaching out to UPshow for a free demo today.