Before COVID, implementing prescription delivery was notoriously difficult. Cost of delivery, the ability to verify identity, and distribution management all posed huge barriers to effectively build out a prescription delivery service offering that would support their customers’ and business’ needs. Our Founder Wenbo Liu points out, “If you do 100% delivery, what happens when you have to make multiple deliveries to the same person? What happens if a doctor sends an antibiotic in the morning to realize he sent the wrong one? Delivery has high potential for error or complications, which all translates into additional costs from repetitive work.” For these reasons, many pharmacies were resistant to offering any type of medication delivery. Due to modern technology and applications, patient identity can be verified and delivery push notifications acknowledgement can hold patients accountable for accepting medications. With these advancements, chain pharmacies were slowly introducing sustainable delivery services by charging delivery fees. But with the onset of COVID, many pharmacies agreed to waive those fees in an effort to make prescription delivery accessible. As expected, more patients are utilizing pharmacies that offer this crucial service to ensure medication adherence while staying safe. Though prescription delivery is a must for pharmacies and customers during COVID-19, delivery options are changing the pharmacy landscape long after the pandemic subsides. Here’s how prescription delivery will change the way we interact with pharmacies now and in the future. Prescription Delivery is Helping to Centralize Customer Service and Patient Care Imagine needing medication before COVID. You’d have to go to the doctor for your prescription, take it to the pharmacy, see if your insurance covered it, wait for it to be filled, then go home—all while potentially feeling under the weather. “Even before showing up at the pharmacy, you’re scheduling an appointment with your doctor, leaving home and driving through traffic to sit in a waiting room for sometimes hours to see a doctor for a minute or less to receive your medication,” our Founder, Wenbo Liu, explains. He continues, “Then you have to take your prescription to a pharmacy, wait for your prescription to be filled, then go home. If you’re sick, then this is a daunting and draining process.” Wenbo finishes, “In no way does this system benefit the health of the patient.” For years, pharmacies avoided prescription delivery for costly reasons, even though it was an additional strain on consumers. “Offering free delivery is a huge business expense, it’s more cost-effective for pharmacies to have patients pick-up their medication, even if it’s not in your best interest,” says Wenbo. However, COVID is changing all that. With the shift to prescription delivery, pharmacies are in the position to improve the patient experience and do what’s best for patient needs, instead of bottom lines. No more running to the pharmacy after your doctor appointment, no more waiting in line. Prescription delivery offers a healthier, more efficient, and convenient service, and as more people opt-in, more pharmacies will centralize and prioritize this level of patient care into their business model. Prescription Delivery Could Create a Consolidation of Pharmacies An industry status report published in June of 2020 has reframed its discussion on prescription delivery, “Towards an in-depth review of the delivery solutions available to pharmacies, health systems, and patients,” where they state, “As the COVID-19 virus spread across the country, it became clear that prescription delivery was not only desirable but necessary for good public health.” In other words, the entire healthcare model including patients are coming to a new understanding about how delivery plays a role in overall health and safety. Not only is the industry seeing a huge adoption of prescription delivery, there is also an increase in satisfaction with 94% of users reporting “very-satisfied” with their delivery experience. In parallel, there’s also been a wide increase of mail subscription refills, although recent turmoil at USPS may stall those advances. Though prescription delivery is costly, chains implementing COVID protections for customers including free contactless same-day prescription delivery and in-store social distancing are reporting profits for the recent quarter. However, smaller pharmacies that lack the same resources as big chains may not see the same numbers. Wenbo explains,“Some of the mom and pop pharmacies will figure out a way to stay compliant with technology but some might not make it due to the costly nature of delivery.” As a result, a consolidation of pharmacies may take place as the pandemic lifts favoring the survival of those offering affordable, even free, delivery services. Prescription Delivery is Supporting Home-Based Health Initiatives Including Telehealth With COVID, the entire healthcare model is shifting towards home-based health with telehealth appointments and prescription delivery leading the way. Jane Garcia, CEO of La Clínica de la Raza states, “One of the positive outcomes of this [pandemic] is that telehealth has been demystified.” Before the COVID pandemic, trends showed some interest in the use of telehealth, but various policies and restrictions made the adoption difficult. However, the pandemic has forced a shift in policies that have reduced barriers to telehealth appointments where physicians can prescribe medications to be delivered straight to your door. Does that mean you can get prescriptions today without visiting your doctor? Yes and no. Telemedicine is a low risk-option for simple primary care visits and a convenient option for medical advice. Many physicians agree, according to a GoodRX survey where 50% of prescripers said they would be comfortable prescribing medications for non-severe problems, and 75% said they’d be comfortable doing refills for ongoing treatments. Regardless, you’d still need to consult your physician for medication, however making the trip to the doctor and the pharmacy to get your prescription may no longer be necessary depending on what kind of telemedicine provider you use. At Cherry Streety We’re Working Relentlessly to Centralize Patient Care With Prescription Delivery and More Before COVID, we realized prescription delivery was a must to provide our patients healthcare services with ease-of-use and convenience. It’s as simple as visiting CherryRX.com, choose refill on the page and then select pickup or delivery. From there, we’ll notify you of every stage of the filling and delivery or pickup process. Our primary motivator is your health. By offering you free prescription delivery, we hope to help you take your medication regularly. That’s why free delivery is a priority in our community during and beyond COVID, and we look forward to seeing how prescription delivery continues to revolutionize the healthcare industry as a whole. Questions? Learn more about our free delivery or feel free to contact us any time.