Online pharmacies with big TV advertising budgets are marketing online medication ordering and delivery services as ‘it just makes sense’. Soon, the NHS will launch its own medication managing app, adding yet more incentive for people to go online. For the many customers who are already happy shopping online, ordering medication online for home delivery is likely to be their logical next step.
Each week, the NHS publishes statistics on use of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) in England, including the number of new nominations gained by named operators each week. In the latest data collection (to mid-February), two online pharmacies collectively gained over 2060 new transactions in one week. It’s worth asking yourself how many of those came from your dispensary.
Currently, dispensing doctors are excluded from using the EPS. This has put us at a huge disadvantage: dispensing patients who want to use the service have had to turn to pharmacies to do so. All dispensaries, regardless of where they are located, are losing dispensing patients to online pharmacies.
So what can dispensing doctors do to protect themselves from these very real and present business threats?
The DDA has been working with the IT company Healthera to create a dispensing GP app that will protect your dispensing volumes.
The Healthera Patient Medication Ordering App not only mirrors the features of the EPS, it adds plenty of user-friendly functionality that will appeal to all dispensary patients, and all in a dispensing GP-friendly way:
- It allows patients to nominate their own dispensary
- It allows patients to order repeat medication
- It is widely available via the app stores and is easy to install to any internet-enabled device, including smartphones
And, in line with regulatory requirements, it can support practices to demonstrate their commitment to improving medication adherence in their patients:
- It sends and receives messages between patient and dispensary
- It reminds patients to take and reorder their medicines (supporting dispensary workflow).
The DDA has negotiated a 10 per cent discount for members, which brings down the cost of subscribing to Healthera to £49 per month. For the average dispensary this will be offset by dispensing only 20 items (based on estimated profit of £2.50 per item). You will know for yourself how quickly you will be able to recoup this cost – but one thing is for sure – it’s a far shorter time than it will take you to identify and regain the patient you have lost – and will continue to lose – to online pharmacies.
Act now – and save your dispensary before it’s too late.
To access your exclusive DDA member only discount, visit the Dispensary Management Zone for the code and further instructions.
Download the Healthera dispensary poster
Download the Healthera prescription bag flyer