Rite Aid plays catch up with Rx refill app

By Brian Dolan
Share

Rite Aid iPhone appThis week Rite Aid launched smartphone apps for iPhone and Android device users that lets customers refill their prescriptions by scanning the medication bottle with their device's camera. Walgreens launched a similar app in November 2010. CVS launched its first prescription refill app in July 2010, but it didn't have the refill by scan feature. Walgreens just added medication adherence reminders and Rx transfer features this month.

Rite Aid's prescription refill app also lets users refill prescriptions by entering the prescription number by keypad, transfer prescriptions from competing pharmacies (where allowed), and it also lets them sign up for text, email and phone alerts for its Rx Reminders service.

"We've seen traffic to our mobile-optimized website grow steadily as proof positive that our customers' communication preferences are evolving," John Learish, senior vice president, marketing at Rite Aid stated in a press release. "With this new app for Android and iPhone-powered devices, Rite Aid is ready to further engage customers when and how they choose to communicate, adding relevant services inside the app that increase the convenience and value we can offer.”

The app also includes a store locator that leverages the smartphone’s GPS to find nearby Rite Aid stores. Like similar apps from competitors, it also lets users filter by which locations have in-store clinics or other services.

Rite Aid has been more pioneering than its competition when it comes to telehealth: Last year the retail pharmacy chain announced a deal with Optum to connect its customers with Optum nurses and other providers via Optum's videochat-enabled NowClinic service. The service is currently available in select parts of Pennsylvania and Michigan, according to Optum's site.

For more on mobile health at retail clinics and other clinics, check out MobiHealthNews' complimentary report: Mobile Health at the Clinic.

More on the new app in the press release below:

PRESS RELEASE: CAMP HILL, Pa. -- In order to make life easier for the growing ranks of on-the-go shoppers who carry mobile smartphones, Rite Aid has launched an official mobile app offering one-click prescription refill scanning, locations and features of the nearest Rite Aid stores, and weekly sale and promotion listings. Members of Rite Aid's free customer loyalty program wellness+ can even manage their accounts from anywhere by checking their point status and using Rite Aid's Load2Card program to virtually clip coupons and add them to their wellness+ card for instant register savings.

The app – or mobile application, a customized program designed to run efficiently on the latest generation of high-tech mobile "smartphones" – is available now for free for Android and iPhone operating systems at Play.Google.com and iTunes.Apple.com. It expands and simplifies the mobile services Rite Aid has long offered through its mobile-optimized website while also offering a versatile platform that will continue to evolve with new features and capabilities already under development for subsequent app versions.

"We've seen traffic to our mobile-optimized website grow steadily as proof positive that our customers' communication preferences are evolving," said John Learish, senior vice president, marketing. "With this new app for Android and iPhone-powered devices, Rite Aid is ready to further engage customers when and how they choose to communicate, adding relevant services inside the app that increase the convenience and value we can offer.”

The mobile app complements existing channels of communication that Rite Aid has long used including Rx Reminders, Rite Aid's free prescription service that sends text, e-mail and/or phone alerts when a prescription is due for a refill or ready to be picked up. Rite Aid also engages customers through social media including Facebook and Twitter and via traditional channels, such as weekly sales circular ads. Specific features of the free app include:

Prescription refills – Use a smartphone's camera to snap a picture of the barcode on a prescription bottle, enter the prescription number by keypad or refill from past prescriptions already on file. App also allows customers to transfer prescriptions from a competing pharmacy where allowed or sign up for text, e-mail or phone alerts through Rx Reminders.

wellness+ account management – Check wellness+ points and see how far until the next reward tier. Access Load2Card, the coupon management program that was the drugstore industry's first electronic aggregator of store and manufacturer coupons for redemption at store registers.

Store locator – Use a phone’s built-in GPS or enter a zip code to find all nearby Rite Aid stores with filters to show only stores with specific features like 24-hour service, drive-thru pharmacy, GNC and in-store health clinics. Get store hours and call directly from the locator.

Weekly circular – Browse the weekly sales circular at a glance with thumbnail page views, zoom in to get details or view items in a convenient list-view format. Add selected items from the weekly circular to a mobile shopping list.

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with approximately 4,700 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2011 annual revenues of $25.2 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at www.riteaid.com.

Zoom Kobe 1 Protro