Dollar Tree acquires Family Dollar for $8.5 billion
Kermit Crawford, pharmacy visionary, will continue to leave his mark on retail pharmacy
Q&A: Eyad Farah on McKesson’s Digital Strategy – Your Pharmacy Online
DSN had an opportunity at McKesson ideaShare to talk to Eyad Farah, senior director of retail product development at McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical, about McKesson’s digital strategy for retail pharmacy and helping pharmacies leverage mobile and digital technology to engage, support and retain patients.
DSN: The Health Mart mobile app, part of the Your Pharmacy Online digital offering, was launched at McKesson ideaShare last year. What was the catalyst behind its creation, and why is this solution important for pharmacies?
Eyad Farah: The industry has evolved significantly over the past few years with greater adoption of digital and mobile tools by patients and consumers — forcing retailers and providers alike to make investments in this space to provide more access and better convenience. Pharmacy owners have the opportunity to capitalize on these trends and integrate these technologies into their business.
McKesson is dedicated to giving retail pharmacy access to affordable technology that enables new forms of patient care and communication. By leveraging mobile, digital and new technologies, we can give pharmacies the ability to engage, support and retain patients.
Your Pharmacy Online is just one way we help our pharmacies stay competitive in this increasingly digital world without having to invest the time and money to develop it themselves. With Your Pharmacy Online, pharmacies can cost-effectively create and manage an attractive, modern website using quick, user-friendly customization tools. Health Mart pharmacies can offer patients a mobile app for on-the-go prescription management that includes the convenience of refill requests, refill and pill reminders, and prescription notifications. This tool also supports Health Mart’s goal of helping our stores improve medication adherence and drive positive health outcomes, while increasing prescription volume.
Response to the Health Mart mobile app has been terrific. So far there have been more than 10,000 downloads to date, and constant growth in the mobile app’s utilization.
DSN: What are some of the greatest challenges facing retail pharmacy today, and how can these digital solutions help pharmacies overcome those challenges?
Farah: Research shows two key factors that play a role in how consumers select a pharmacy are cost and convenience. Digital and mobile capabilities are critical to delivering on convenience; however, effective digital solutions can take significant time and money to develop and implement. McKesson’s digital strategy is geared at closing the gap to help independent pharmacies build functionality that drives patient engagement and differentiation.
An additional challenge facing pharmacies today is the industry shift from volume to value. Pharmacists are being required to offer a wider set of clinical services to drive better patient care. As an example of how digital technology can support this shift, Your Pharmacy Online provides patients with tools to help them adhere to their medication regimen by reminding them when to take their medications and when to refill them. By activating the pill reminder and refill reminder functions, patients can elect to receive helpful reminders via email or text.
DSN: What’s new with the Your Pharmacy Online this year?
Farah: The newest platform features focus on enhancing the prescription management process, expanding customization tools and improving workflow efficiencies within the store.
- Pill reminders to help support medication adherence;
- Multi-pharmacy website allows pharmacies with multiple locations to create a central web page with links to affiliated stores;
- EnterpriseRx integration improves workflow efficiency with refill requests going directly into the pharmacy system and providing patients additional real-time prescription information, such as refills remaining, prescription history, last refill date, and drug name and dosage; and
- An updated mobile website that has the same look and feel as the mobile app.
DSN: Where are you taking the platform, and how is your mobile and digital strategy evolving?
Farah: Our goal is to continue to help independent retail pharmacies attract new patients and drive better patient care by investing in cutting-edge digital tools and consumer retail technologies. Some of the key development areas include:
- Improving the depth and accessibility of our health content (e.g., patient education and disease state-specific knowledge base)
- Creating simple, consistent user experiences across all channels and platforms. This starts with a mobile-first approach for product and program development, and then broadens the brand reach and extends functionality through third-party mobile and web integrations.
- Close the gap on core functionality for a stronger position against large chains' digital offerings (e.g., advanced medication management tools, mobile utilities and social media integration).