Times are exciting in the chemical world of the digital pharmacy industry.
Within the bag of opportunities presented to pharmacy ecommerce, there are three in particular: greater consumer demand, advanced technologies, and a broader role for pharmacists.
Let’s take a look at each one of these three opportunities for pharmacy ecommerce.
Greater consumer demand
When it comes to digital services, it’s no longer the exclusive terrain of young people. And the real estate of the pharmacy neighborhood is largely being fueled by the baby boomers.
According to data from the AARP, Americans aged 50 and older are now adopting consumer technology close to those aged between 18-49. Additional data found that 53% of respondents want their medical needs managed by a mix of healthcare professionals and technology.
This gives pharmacies an added imperative to invest heavier when it comes to ecommerce.
Added to this recipe of imperatives, the pandemic resulted in an increase of 340% in telemedicine practices among Medicare recipients. In one survey, 1/3 of respondents said that they have ordered their prescriptions from an online pharmacy. In addition, another 1/3 reported that they monitor their health using a wearable device.
Pharmacies will benefit from a variety of services and digital tools by investing in better technologies that are anchored to their retail footprint. These will add value for both consumers as well as pharmacists, such as for telehealth, remote monitoring, and vaccination delivery.
The adoption of digital pharmacy services was actually increasing before the beginning of the pandemic, before 2020. And then during the pandemic, these types of services soared in terms of both adoption and usage.
With loosened restrictions implemented under pandemic conditions, it has allowed pharmacists to process prescriptions and medication orders remotely across many states.
This enabled community pharmacies to remain open, maintaining their contact with customers under digital-prescribed restrictions. Today, pharmacy ecommerce is expected to be part of the core offering of these businesses.
According to one survey, 72% of respondents admitted to having their first virtual care visit during the pandemic.
When it comes to immunization services, they can generate more revenue from the service as well as greater foot traffic. That’s because retail pharmacies had been playing a huge role in terms of administering Covid-19 vaccines by taking advantage of technologies that facilitate an end-to-end digital experience.
For example, remote patient monitoring (RPM) tech that gathers health data and channels it to healthcare providers to assess patients’ health outside of the clinic.
Community pharmacists are now playing a more important role in the lives of patients through the use of RPMs. They’re already trained in biologic data interpretation, patient counseling, and medication management. And also, pharmacies are well placed to monitor such data and distribute RPM devices, which can unlock more revenue streams.
Broader role for pharmacists
The traditional role of the pharmacist is reliant on technology for the basics of providing prescriptions to patients, yet many pharmacies don’t use all the patient-focused technology available to them.
The focus on patient care is acutely important because pharmacists do much more than fill prescriptions; they do things like patient education, medication therapy management, medication monitoring, vaccine administration, and disease management.
Actually, plenty of lobbying effort has pushed pharmacists to achieve provider-level status nationwide since their legal abilities vary from state to state.