Walgreens recently announced the launch of an SMS reminder system for prescription refills. The free service reminds patients about medications due for a refill and makes it easy for them to replenish their meds: Patients need only reply "refill" to the reminder text.
Walgreens already offers a Prescription Ready Text Alerts service, which notifies customers when a prescription order is ready for pickup. It launched in March of 2010 and counted 1 million users a year later. According to the company, the service now counts more than 2 million users.
Walgreens also has a smartphone app, Refill by Scan, that (fittingly) refills applications by scanning the bottle's barcode. It also counted one million users this March after launching last November.
“We’ve driven strong adoption and customer engagement through our mobile applications, and these mobile pharmacy features are also great tools for helping people manage their health,” stated Sona Chawla, Walgreens president of e-commerce, in a press release. “This is another way we’re extending the access to Walgreens pharmacy to patients on the go and helping them stay well.”
“Medication non-adherence is one of the biggest hurdles in treating illness today, responsible for more than $100 billion each year in avoidable hospitalizations3,” stated Cheryl Pegus, Walgreens CMO, in a press release. "Personalized services that can help patients remain compliant with their prescription regimens can be effective in lowering health care costs and improving patient care.”
Read the press release below.
PRESS RELEASE -- Text messaging has become the most popular form of communication for mobile users in the U.S., and now Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (NASDAQ: WAG) is helping its pharmacy patients remember and order prescription refills through its newest mobile feature, Refill Reminder Text Alerts. The new service delivers a text message notifying patients when an existing prescription is due for refill, orders can then be completed with a simple “refill” reply.
The service is free to mobile and smartphone users, standard data and messaging rates apply through wireless carriers.
“We’ve driven strong adoption and customer engagement through our mobile applications, and these mobile pharmacy features are also great tools for helping people manage their health,” said Sona Chawla, Walgreens president of e-commerce. “This is another way we’re extending the access to Walgreens pharmacy to patients on the go and helping them stay well.”
Pharmacy patients can sign up for refill reminder text alerts at any Walgreens pharmacy and also online at www.walgreens.com/textalerts.
Walgreens currently has more than 2 million subscribers for its Prescription Ready Text Alerts, which notify customers when a prescription order is ready for pickup.
Mobile Health Care Applications Drive Online Refills, May Help Improve Adherence Rates
The overall cost of poor medication adherence is approximately $290 billion per year to the U.S. health care system.1 In addition, studies show that for every 100 new prescriptions, only 15-20 percent are refilled as prescribed.2
“Medication non-adherence is one of the biggest hurdles in treating illness today, responsible for more than $100 billion each year in avoidable hospitalizations3,” said Cheryl Pegus, Walgreens chief medical officer. “Tools and personalized services that can help patients remain compliant with their prescription regimens can be effective in lowering health care costs and improving patient care.”
Walgreens mobile applications, which recently received Webby Awards in the people’s voice categories of Best Integrated Mobile Experience and Best Shopping from a Mobile Device, now account for more than 25 percent of the company’s online prescription refills.
These applications feature Refill by Scan, which enables mobile users to order refills simply by scanning the barcode on a prescription bottle. They also have a prescription refills tab, where refills can be ordered by entering a prescription number, with in-store pickup available at any Walgreens store.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2011 sales of $72 billion. The company operates 7,760 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.
1 National Association of Chain Drugstores
2 IMS Health
3 Johns Hopkins University, Partnership for Solutions