RX BIOTECH BLOG
Mobile apps are key means of ordering prescriptions online Consumer healthcare research has increasingly moved to the internet, and now consumers are beginning to manage their pharma prescriptions online as well. Baby boomers are the generation most likely to have pharmaceutical needs, and as such, they are defying digital norms by leading, rather than following, the online trend. More than one-third of baby boomers were already managing their prescriptions online, according to October research from customer experience management company Empathica. And nearly as many baby boomers were actually filling those prescriptions online, a higher percentage than either Generation X consumers or millennials doing the same.
Though in-store remains by far and away the most popular place to fill a prescription, with seven out of 10 US internet users doing so, the internet is gaining fast. Nearly one-quarter of respondents reported filling online. Pharmacies have been slow to keep up, however, and are likely keeping those numbers down. According to Empathica, 40% of pharmacies had no online presence.
Granted, providing consumers with online pharmacy access may not be as simple as creating a website. Most consumers who did fill their prescriptions online reported doing so through a mobile application.
For pharmacies looking to gain online users, mobile is key. Two out of five internet users said they would like their primary pharmacy to offer a mobile health app, which might be a forum to fill prescriptions as well as a place to find further health and script information.
Despite the relatively high demand for a mobile app, only 16% of internet users were aware of their pharmacy offering one. Three-quarters of respondents said they didn’t know if their pharmacy offered a mobile health app, suggesting an opportunity for pharmacies that have developed such an application to educate consumers on its availability.
The survey also found that pharmacies have not been very successful at fostering loyalty, with three out of five respondents reporting that they are not loyal to any one pharmacy. With loyalty so hard to come by, convenience is one of the most significant benefits a pharmacy can offer. Mobile applications and online order fulfillment can provide one means of satisfying—and retaining—a growing customer base.
Practicing rheumatologists have a choice of 9 biologic therapies that may be appropriate in the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), including the 3 new agents introduced since 2008. Rx Biotech is a prescription service that specializes in supplying patients and practitioners with products for the treatment of rheumatic diseases. It has been used on at least one occasion by almost all rheumatologists in private practice in Southern California. These specialists' specific choices of biologic interventions, as the proportions of all newly initiated treatments, were examined for the years 2008–2010 and are shown in Table 1.
Table 1. New prescriptions for biologic agents written by rheumatologists for RA patients*
|New biologic prescriptions, no.||927||1,783||2,206||-|
|Prescribing rheumatologists, no.||143||182||231||-|
|New prescriptions initiated, mean per physician||6.5||9.8||9.5||-|
Among 231 rheumatologists utilizing the services of Rx Biotech, the 3 original anti–tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents (etanercept, adalimumab, and infliximab), as a proportion of all biologic agents dispensed, decreased modestly over the last 3 years (93.6% to 75.7% of newly initiated treatments), with etanercept demonstrating the largest decrease (13.6%). Two newer agents, golimumab and certolizumab, are equally prescribed and account for 1 in 6 newly initiated treatments. Non–anti-TNF agents (rituximab, anakinra, tocilizumab, abatacept) are prescribed for the first time to only 1 in 14 RA patients prescribed a new biologic therapy. These data demonstrate the persistent tendency to prescribe anti-TNF agents (92.6%) as the agent of choice for patients with RA seen by private practitioners in Southern California.
Nominate a deserving pharmacist for the 2013 Next-Generation PharmacistTM Awards, and watch videos of 5 winners from 2012.
Nominations are now open for the 2013 Next-Generation PharmacistTM Awards, presented by Pharmacy Times and Parata Systems. To nominate a hard-working, inspiring pharmacist, tech, or pharmacy student who exemplifies what the pharmacy profession can and should be, click here. The deadline for entries is April 15, 2013, and nominations can be submitted directly from the website or printed out and sent in via mail.