Digital Pharmacist Blog

How We Invested $2.5 Million to Help Your Pharmacy Compete

Last updated May 20, 2020 | Digital Pharmacist Products

By Digital Pharmacist Staff

Over the past 12 months, we invested over $2.5 million to upgrade the Digital Pharmacist Platform. As an existing Digital Pharmacist customer, you automatically receive these and future platform upgrades at no additional charge. Our Customer Success team will be reaching out to ensure your store(s) and patients start to benefit from the newly upgraded platform. Alternatively, you can call us 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday, if you would like to walk through the upgrades and ensure they are deployed at your store.

These upgrades are a result of feedback from hundreds of pharmacists like you and 65,000 online patient reviews. Special thanks to members of our Customer Advisory Board: American Pharmacies, Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Blount Discount Pharmacy, Cardinal Health, Hopkinton Drug, Independent Pharmacy Solutions (IPS), Longs Drugs, Louis Morgan Drug, Medicap Raleigh, Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy #1198, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), Nucara, Schroeder Drugs, Scott RX, Remington Drug, Scott Pharmacy, Smith Drug, H.D. Smith, Sav-Mor Drug Stores and The Hometown Pharmacies.

We will continue to invest in the platform and we look forward to releasing many new features that will help your business stay competitive and your patients will love.

15 Improvements to the Digital Pharmacist Platform

1. New Native iOS and Android Mobile App

The new mobile app looks similar to the original mobile app, but is significantly more robust. This is not just because it was developed in native Apple iOS and Android (the older app was developed in JavaScript and did not look as good on an iPad), but it also allows patients to create accounts, store information and it connects seamlessly to 53 different pharmacy management systems. If you decide to change pharmacy management systems in the future, you and your patients can keep using your mobile app and avoid any disruptions.

2. New Website Designs

Patients rave about their independent pharmacists in online reviews, but many first-generation pharmacy websites featured OTC shelves or block images, not the people who patients were coming to see – you! Our newer website designs feature the people who make independent pharmacy amazing and we quickly point out important services that patients love – like delivery or multi-dose packaging. If you have not received your annual website refresh in the past 12-months, please get in touch with us. We will gladly work on upgrading your website at no additional cost to you.

3. HIPAA Secure Single Sign-On for Patients

Patients can now sign on to your website and mobile app with the same credentials to access their medication history. Previously, our web and mobile app solutions used different credentialing systems. This upgrade will make it much easier for your patients to move between your website and mobile app and makes the platform even more secure.

4. Double Verification of Patient Accounts to Ensure Tighter Security

We’ve always taken data security very seriously and we have never been hacked or had a HIPAA violation. With more advanced hacker techniques, highlighted by the Experian and Yahoo! hacks, we added an extra layer of verification to our account creation process.

New patients will be asked to verify their email address with a special code that we send to their inbox. Just like a bank account, this extra layer of security protects patients from inadvertently entering the wrong email address and giving a stranger access to their PHI. This feature protects your patients and your pharmacy. The new process is shown below.

Step 1 – Patient creates an account after the first refill by entering AN email address and password

Step 2. Patient receives confirmation of account creation and is asked to obtain a special code from their email to verify their email address

Step 3 – Patient receives a confirmation email

Step 4. Patient goes to your website and enters the secure code, then the account is created

5. Clinical Opportunities Developed by Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS and our On-Staff Pharmacy Team

Within our upgraded and HIPAA-secure refill process, we now ask pharmacist approved questions, to ensure patients understand their medications and are not experiencing side effects.  For example, we ask if a patient with diabetes is checking his/her feet or if patients who take lisinopril are experiencing dry cough. We provide links to videos or content pages to give them the resources needed for a better understanding of their health condition. If a patient indicates he/she is experiencing these side effects, our pharmacy team alerts you.  

In addition to asking about side effects, we are helping schedule patients for vaccinations, especially the flu vaccination.  In our beta period, approximately 5 percent of patients indicated that they were experiencing side effects, did not understand their condition or were interested in scheduling a flu vaccination.

In the second half of the year, we will make it possible for you to introduce your own questions. For example, you will be able to recommend appropriate supplements based on a patient’s condition or for drug-induced nutrient depletion.

6. Family Accounts

Families can now add multiple patients into a single family account. This feature can also be used by nurses in long-term care facilities to create patient groups. Older versions of the website refill process and mobile app did not allow for multi-patient information to be stored and transmitted from a single account.  

We uncovered the need for this product feature when reading through patient reviews and analyzing birth years. We discovered many caregivers are using pharmacy websites or apps to manage the health of a dependent. Patients receiving refills via the website or app range in age from 1 month to 110 years old.  We often see reviews where dependents are mentioned. For example, “Thank you for taking care of my Dad” or “I love the app, because the baby is sleeping. If I call I will wake her up and I can’t leave the house.”

7. Improved Refill Error Handling & Legal Checks

One of the biggest challenges for patients and pharmacists with our original platform was that the system did not notify the patient if their refill failed. Through integration, our new platform now produces 34 different intelligent messages if a refill fails. Refills can fail for many reasons. For example, an RX number may be expired, a refill may be too early, the RX may not have any refills or the telephone line may go down. In addition, if a patient attempts to refill a controlled substance, like Adderall, which is not legally possible, they will receive a message indicating why the refill failed to submit.

Now patients get hard confirmations or intelligent failure messages which will reduce patient frustration and improve service.

8. Fast Fall Back to Fax

In our old system, if there was a communication error with your pharmacy management system, our support team would manually send refills via fax within 4 to 6 hours. We have now automated this process. After two failed attempts to connect to your pharmacy management system, our servers automatically fax the refill to the store. Our support team then works with the store or pharmacy management system to restore the connection.

If the connection to your pharmacy management system and your fax line is not responding, we will alert the patient who is attempting to refill there is a persistent error and they should call the pharmacy. This will prevent patients from showing up at the pharmacy with an expectation that a refill was successfully submitted.

9. Streamlined Fax

We streamlined the fax to make it easier to see the refill information and patient notes.

10. Improved Text & Outbound Pick Up Capability

You asked and we listened. Outbound pick up reminders are currently the #1 requested technical improvement listed within the 65,000 patient reviews.

We now offer text refill capabilities. Patients who do not have smartphones can easily refill via their phone.  We also offer outbound call, text and email reminders. As most pharmacists know, having to return to stock is a significant issue, so our new outbound capability allows you to send outbound refill reminders, outbound Rx Ready and outbound pick up reminders via call, text or email. We are integrated into 10 pharmacy management systems with this product. We always recommend using your pharmacy management system outbound capabilities first, but if these features are not available, ours is a proven solution — now used by 500 pharmacies.

11. Optimized Facebook Advertising

Our Digital Marketing Team optimizes Facebook advertising campaigns daily for 600 pharmacies. Our key insights are that social media ads need to be targeted to your local area, need to be personal, fun, informative or promotional, as opposed to dull and generic. The ad creative needs to be refreshed every month. We are working with pharmacies enrolled in our advertising program to help tell their story. Below you can see some of the most successful examples. Call us at 877-959-7550 to discuss your Digital Marketing program. We want to upgrade your ads to tell your story.

12. Email Newsletter Promotions Developed by Our Internal Marketing Agency

Many pharmacies in our network now have over 400 weekly email subscribers. To date, we have encouraged pharmacies to focus on offering health information in these email newsletters. We are now rolling out new seasonal promotions that are featured in the email newsletter for Digital Marketing customers.  These promotions are aimed at driving patients into stores, in and around holidays or shopping periods.  Below are some ads that Digital Marketing customers can choose from. These ads and creative expenses come at no additional charge to your pharmacy.

13. Improved Email Collection to Build Your CRM Capability

We found most pharmacies do not have an effective way to collect email addresses. Our platform collects email addresses on your homepage and now in the refill process and obtains patient consent so you can contact them. Now that you have email addresses, you can email your customizable newsletter to your patients from your Digital Pharmacist Dashboard and be sure you are not violating CAN-SPAM laws.  

14. Online Payments

Six pharmacies have successfully completed a beta test of our new online bill pay system. Patients or corporate customers like long-term care facilities receive invoices with instructions on how to pay on the pharmacy website. This new product is working very well for pharmacies with extensive long-term care billing operations. This is a new product that you can add to your Core Digital Platform.

15. Improved Online Wellness Classes Program

Our improved Wellness Classes program can be accessed on the iPad, iPhone and Android where previously it was only available on desktop. Patients can learn about their condition, understand how to effectively manage their condition and learn about the common medications. Wellness Classes were developed by our Pharmacy team, under the direction of Anyssa Garza PharmD, BCMAS. An enhanced version of Wellness Classes is also available for instore education via the Dashboard. Pharmacists can use our program to meet one of the set standards when seeking accreditation for a diabetes education program. Our Wellness Classes are also a great marketing tool when reaching out to local providers.

If you have any questions or need help growing your digital engagement, give us a call at 877-959-7550 or email us at help@digitalpharmacist.com and we will gladly assist you.

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