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Smart Digital Platforms Bridge Gap Between Patients, Prescriptions and Medication Access

pharmaceuticals, medication

In recent years, the healthcare industry has witnessed a significant transformation, driven by technological advancements and shifting consumer expectations. 

One of the most significant advancements lie in the integration of digital tools and solutions aimed at streamlining medication access and delivery. This shift holds promise, particularly for older adults seeking convenience, accessibility and affordability in their healthcare journey.

One of the latest developments in this space comes from Amazon Pharmacy, which recently expanded its same-day delivery service for prescription medication to encompass New York City and the greater Los Angeles area, adding to its coverage in five cities. 

Upon receiving a handwritten or online prescription, advanced generative AI conducts thorough fact-checking and preliminary tasks. Subsequently, pharmacists verify medication accuracy, dosage and address details. 

In specific locations, robotic arms assist in the filling and labeling of prescriptions before undergoing pharmacist inspection. Delivery methods vary by location; for example, eBikes are utilized to navigate congested areas such as Manhattan, while all-electric vans may cater to suburban Los Angeles. 

As Doug Herrington, CEO of Worldwide Amazon Stores, said in a Tuesday (March 26) press release, “by bringing Amazon Pharmacy’s deliveries into our existing world-class logistics network, Amazon is building the fastest and most convenient service for the home delivery of prescription medications.” 

Amazon’s foray into the pharmaceutical domain reflects a broader trend of players recognizing the potential of digital platforms in enhancing medication access and delivery. 

CarelonRx, a division of U.S. health insurer Elevance Health, launched a digital pharmacy platform on Jan. 1 this year, enabling members to engage with pharmacists 24/7 via text, chat or phone. The platform also provides features such as medication price comparison and prescription tracking, with push notifications further ensuring members stay informed about their prescriptions. 

Commenting on the launch, Paul Marchetti, president of CarelonRx, emphasized the importance of providing consumers with a seamless and convenient medication access experience.

“Members should be able to easily compare costs of medications, speak to a staff member at any time of day […], be able to track the status of their prescriptions, and have those prescriptions delivered on time to their doorsteps,” Marchetti said. 

Prior to that, in October, Alto Pharmacy, a full-service digital pharmacy, and Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Companyannounced an expansion of its services aimed at offering low-cost medications for delivery and pickup to customers in metropolitan areas where Alto has pharmacy locations. 

Beyond convenience and affordability, digital pharmacies are also enhancing healthcare delivery for older consumers by promoting consistent medication use and patient engagement. 

Utilizing features like automated refill reminders and medication management tools, these platforms empower individuals to remain consistent with their treatment regimens and actively participate in their healthcare journey. 

This dovetails with PYMNTS Intelligence data that shows a strong interest among consumers for unified digital healthcare platforms, particularly among baby boomers and seniors. 

Per the report, 90% of baby boomers and seniors would prefer refilling prescriptions through digital platforms. Similarly, 89% and 75% of these demographics indicated a preference for single-click prescription refill options and requesting prescription deliveries, respectively.

Moreover, the fact that nearly 80% of consumers who have expressed at least some interest in using unified digital healthcare platforms said they prefer accessing online pharmacies through such platforms further emphasizes the growing integration of digital solutions in the future of medication access and delivery.