Forget the creepy-crawlies and the heebie-jeebies: an overflowing pharmacy is enough to incite fear in the heart of any pharmacist. Phone lines are ringing, patients are streaming in, and techs are getting more and more frazzled with each passing minute. With slower service, customers are grumbling, pharmacists are scrambling, and, at the end of the day, no one goes home a winner.
That’s why, for pharmacists, efficiency is key: in workflow, in automation, and of course, in the technology you use every day. By now, you’ve probably invested in efficiency measures to help you make more out of your day.
But in the midst of all your measures, are you making use of one crucial tool that can make or break your pharmacy’s efficiency?
Why Do Pharmacies Need Mobile Apps?
Today, it’s not enough to get by with a half-hearted website and a Facebook page, offering sporadic updates that leave your patients left behind.
Patients want information — but they also ease, efficiency, and convenience — and these days, they’re getting it through pharmacy mobile applications.
Today, 42% of small businesses already have a mobile app up and running. Another 30% plan to get one moving in the near future.
And it’s not just retailers: it’s independent pharmacies just like yours, who are using the power of technology to increase their efficiency and keep their patient base happier than ever.
A few more fun facts about pharmacy mobile applications:
- App stores already host more than 318,000 mobile health apps
- More than 200 new healthcare apps are added to stores everyday
- More people prefer immediate or virtual healthcare facilities than traditional ones
- The healthcare mobile app market is set to generate $11B by 2025
- The global online pharmacy market is expected to generate $150M+ million by 2027
If you haven’t already invested in an online pharmacy app, you’re missing out. Different apps have different capabilities, but most apps are set up similarly. In general, your app should offer all of the same information that your website does, just in a more mobile-friendly way.
Your app should allow patients to request refills, communicate with you via a HIPAA-compliant messaging system, and schedule upcoming appointments at the pharmacy.
With these features in place, you’ll be able to offer more services than ever before.
Capabilities for Pharmacies
With a pharmacy app, you will have the ability to:
- Offer timely updates and information
- Share your services
- Easily offer refills to patients
- Cut down your phone lines
- Shorten your wait time
- Communicate with patients more effectively
- Increase medication adherence
- Minimize adverse drug reactions
- Strengthen patient-provider relationships
- Take your place as a trusted healthcare resource
The ability to do each of these things can come together and make a big difference. In independent pharmacy, efficiency is the name of the game — and a mobile app can help you to increase efficiency across the board.
And you’re not the only one who benefits. In fact, with a mobile app, you can ensure that your patients are getting the services they need and staying happy.
Capabilities for Patients:
Among other things, an online pharmacy app can enable your patients to:
- Stay informed on the latest at the pharmacy
- Request refills on their prescriptions
- Eliminate wait times
- Shop OTC and other items
- Schedule upcoming appointments
- Open up communication with you
- Ask questions and get answers
- Feel connected to you and your team
- Increase overall satisfaction and customer loyalty
How Do You Get an App for Your Pharmacy?
Pharmacy mobile applications might seem tricky, but they don’t have to be. If you’re looking to get your own app going, there are a few different ways you can do it. Each option requires a different level of time, money, and energy — so consider how much you’re willing to invest in a new app. With more and more apps introduced every day, though, it’s important to remember that they’re an investment worth making.
Here are 4 ways you can get your own app:
1. Make One Yourself
Designing your own online pharmacy app is the most complex option, but it also provides the most control. If you or someone you know has experience with apps, you can create your own. You can control the design, features, and functionality, tailoring it to your pharmacy. Be aware, though, that you’ll have to maintain the app and perform regular maintenance, which is a separate time commitment you might not be willing to make.
2. Hire a Developer
If you want help designing and hosting your app, you can hire a third-party app developer to create (and maintain) your app in the coming months and years. This is a costly option, but it can give you more control over the design process. Your developer will work with you on both the design and functionality of the app, and allow you to make important calls about how the app will work in action.
3. Use a Third-Party Host
If creating an app from scratch sounds like too much trouble, your options are still open. In fact, you can download a third-party app that lets you host your pharmacy as if it were your own app. For example, you can download an app called something like “My Independent Pharmacy” and host your app, “Smith’s Pharmacy,” from that third-party app.
Granted, your app won’t be named after your pharmacy (it will be named after the third-party host), but it will still offer all of the capabilities that a unique app would. Plus, you won’t have to worry about keeping up the app maintenance.
4. Use Your Pharmacy Software System
An even easier option than using a third-party host is taking advantage of your pharmacy software system. Many popular vendors support online pharmacy apps. They can even integrate with your software system so you get refill reminders and patient messages from right within your system. Typically, this is a cheaper, easier option: and it still provides you with flexibility and control over your app.
Next time you speak to your software vendor — or when you’re looking to switch to a new one — make sure to ask about mobile app capabilities. Chances are, they have solutions that will get your pharmacy on the go in no time.
Mobile apps are the future of pharmacy service. With a fully-functioning online pharmacy app, you can increase your efficiency and make sure your patients stay satisfied. Say goodbye to lengthy calls, long lines, and wasting time on mundane tasks. Your app can handle all of that and more. Instead, with all the extra time available, invest back into your pharmacy and start proving your commitment to patient care.
A pharmacy app is just one tool, but it’s the tool you need to make sure your pharmacy runs at maximum efficiency.