Respiratory health company Propeller Health, which was recently acquired by ResMed for $225 million, announced this week in San Francisco a partnership with Walgreens and a new feature for users of its platform.
The new feature, called My Pharmacy, will allow Propeller’s end users, patients with asthma and COPD, to connect to pharmacy services without leaving the Propeller app. At launch, users will be able to refill prescriptions, locate the nearest pharmacy, connect with a live pharmacist via telemedicine, or check their Walgreens Balance Rewards points.
The feature rolls out on iOS this week, followed by Android devices later in the month.
Why it matters
The goal of the integration is to simplify the experience of Propeller users, who can now use only one app for things that would previously have required two.
“One of the main goals is really just to continue to reduce friction in the patient experience,” Propeller Health Chief Operating Officer Chris Hogg told MobiHealthNews. “You have to just make it as easy as possible for a person to manage their own disease. And if we can chip away over time at that friction it just makes it easier, and then they become more compliant, more controlled, and so on.”
Future plans include partnerships with additional pharmacies, automated refill reminders based on sensor and app data, and a deeper integration with Balance Rewards.
“Eventually we'll be able to plug in Balance Rewards so you can incentivize certain behaviors like syncing and retention and things like that,” Hogg said.
What’s the trend
Streamlining the way patients interact with pharmacies and procure drugs was a major area of digital health investment last year, with more than $100 million raised by companies like Capsule, Alto, and NowRx. That interest has no doubt been fueled by Amazon’s billion dollar acquisition of PillPack last summer.
Traditional brick and mortar pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid know that in order to avoid becoming the Blockbuster to these would-be Netflixes, they need to innovate and offer additional value. For instance, CVS recently partnered with Sharecare to offer a digital pharmacy discount card within Sharecare’s app.