Retail pharmacy chain Walgreens added two new features to its mobile health app: medication reminders and prescription transfers via barcode scans. Without citing specific numbers — other than that its mobile user base was in the millions — Walgreens said adoption of its mobile apps grew 500 percent last year.
One of the app’s new feature, called Pill Reminder, aims to help Walgreens iPhone mobile app users track their medication schedules and receive alerts. The alerts can be scheduled nine different ways, including daily, hourly, weekly and more customizable ways. According to Walgreens: “Reminders can be set up simply by scanning a prescription barcode and selecting alert preferences. Users can also add multiple prescriptions, vitamins and other supplements to a single reminder notification.”
The other new feature for the mobile app is called Transfer by Scan. This one makes it easier for Walgreens mobile app users on iPhone and Android to transfer a prescription from another pharmacy to Walgreens in just two steps: “Patients can complete transfers simply by taking a picture of their prescription bottle and providing their name, date of birth and phone number, then sending to Walgreens with one quick click.”
In late 2010 Walgreens launched its refill by scan mobile app feature, which enabled users to refill their prescriptions via their smartphones by scanning their medication bottle’s barcode with their smartphone camera. By March 2011 Walgreens said the scanning feature had already become the dominate way that Walgreens mobile app users refilled their prescriptions. Last October Walgreens enabled text message-powered prescription refills. (Sort of backwards isn’t it — scanning barcodes first then almost a year later, SMS?)
Walgreens began offering its Prescription Ready Text Alerts service, which notifies customers when a prescription order is ready for pickup, in March 2010. It counted 1 million users a year later. By March 2011 it counted more than 2 million users.
“Mobile is an important channel for us and brings great opportunities for technology innovation and providing pharmacy features to millions of our mobile customers,” Sona Chawla, Walgreens president of E-commerce, stated in a press release. “We’ve extended the convenience of Walgreens pharmacy through a number of intuitive, easy-to-use tools that can be very effective in helping patients better manage and improve their overall health.”
More in the press release below:
PRESS RELEASE: DEERFIELD, Ill.–The “drugstore in the palm of your hand” is bringing Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG) pharmacy customers several new mobile features – including Pill Reminder and Transfer by Scan — to help better manage their prescription needs and foster greater medication adherence.
Non-adherence to medications can lead to dangerous complications and costs the U.S. health care system more than $290 billion each year.
Walgreens mobile pharmacy features, which include several adherence-based resources, are the most popular features within its award-winning mobile applications and helped increase use of Walgreens mobile apps by nearly 500 percent last year.
“Mobile is an important channel for us and brings great opportunities for technology innovation and providing pharmacy features to millions of our mobile customers,” said Sona Chawla, Walgreens president of E-commerce. “We’ve extended the convenience of Walgreens pharmacy through a number of intuitive, easy-to-use tools that can be very effective in helping patients better manage and improve their overall health.”
Pill Reminder allows Walgreens iPhone mobile app users to track medication schedules and receive alerts through nine different reminder options, such as daily, hourly, weekly and other customizable selections. Reminders can be set up simply by scanning a prescription barcode and selecting alert preferences. Users can also add multiple prescriptions, vitamins and other supplements to a single reminder notification.
Transfer by Scan enables Walgreens mobile app users on iPhone and Android to transfer a prescription from another pharmacy to Walgreens with two easy steps. Patients can complete transfers simply by taking a picture of their prescription bottle and providing their name, date of birth and phone number, then sending to Walgreens with one quick click.
Refill by Scan, an industry first when it was launched in November 2010 that allows patients to order refills simply by scanning a prescription barcode with their smartphone, now generates more than 40 percent of all Walgreens online refills and accounts for more transactions than any other feature within the application. Refill reminder and prescription ready text alerts are utilized by more than 2 million Walgreens pharmacy customers by providing SMS messages to mobile users notifying them when prescriptions are due for refill and also when prescriptions are ready for pickup. Standard data and messaging rates apply with use and download of all applications.
New QuickPrints Feature Makes Ordering Photo Prints Fast and Easy
Another new and enhanced feature to the app is QuickPrints, which allows mobile customers to order prints directly from an iPhone or Android with no log-in necessary and pick up available in as little as an hour at any Walgreens.
Walgreens mobile applications continue to be recognized among the most innovative in the industry today. Mashable last week featured Walgreens as one of “six branded mobile apps on the cutting edge of innovation” (http://mashable.com/2012/03/02/branded-mobile-apps-innovative/).
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is the nation’s largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2011 sales of $72 billion. The company operates 7,840 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.