When you have a health issue for which you need medication, it’s vital that you’re able to get your prescription filled, no matter where you live. Pharmacies across the country have the same mission — to provide essential, sometimes lifesaving products to their customers, wherever they are.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought rapid changes for many types of businesses, and pharmacies are no exception. Customers increasingly prefer home delivery for a wide range of pharmacy items that they used to pick up in person. And for patients who simply aren’t able to visit a pharmacy on their own, home delivery is a necessity, not just a convenience.
But setting up a new delivery offering can be challenging, especially in smaller cities and rural areas, where pharmacies have few options for HIPAA-compliant delivery that’s also cost-effective.
Like many other retailers, pharmacies need a delivery solution that’s flexible, affordable and doesn’t significantly add to their organizational workload. However, unlike other businesses, pharmacies also must comply with the additional standards of HIPAA, which among other things mandate certain procedures to ensure patient privacy.
Challenges with traditional delivery options
Customers’ changing needs have driven the popularity of mail orders, though that method has its own limitations. Even under ideal conditions, mail orders can take days to arrive, and patients often need their prescriptions right away. Not to mention changes at the post office have slowed delivery times over the past year, increasing the risk for patients with chronic conditions who need medication delivered reliably and without interruption.
Some pharmacies have invested in their own delivery processes, using their own vehicles and staff, or have hired medical couriers to make one-off deliveries. Yet those approaches can end up costing more in the long run and come with their own limitations: a limited geographical coverage zone, high overhead costs and caps on daily deliveries, just to name a few.
The crowdsourcing model
The limitations of traditional shipping solutions are driving some pharmacies to explore crowdsourced delivery. Crowdsourced providers tap into an on-demand network of independent drivers for same-day, scheduled and urgent delivery. Not only does crowdsourced delivery have broad reach, including in smaller cities and rural areas, the best providers for pharmacies offer background-checked HIPAA-compliant drivers.
While pharmacies typically have a steady flow of recurring prescriptions whose delivery can be planned and scheduled well in advance, the on-demand flexibility of crowdsourcing also gives pharmacies the capacity to deliver unexpected orders for new prescriptions.
The ScriptDrop experience
One company that’s been using crowdsourcing successfully is ScriptDrop, a medication access company that connects pharmacies to a network of trained delivery partners. The company initially partnered with various platforms that covered large metropolitan areas but needed a solution that guaranteed the same level of reliability in smaller cities and towns.
ScriptDrop found its solution in crowdsourced delivery provider Roadie. Because on-demand drivers live all around the country they were able to reach ScriptDrop’s customers across the nation.
In 2020, ScriptDrop used crowdsourced delivery for more than 8,500 deliveries in areas that other delivery solutions weren’t capable of covering. In turn, ScriptDrop was able to make its delivery prices more competitive.
Pharmacies need an affordable HIPAA-compliant delivery solution that can effectively reach customers nationwide. By tapping into an on-demand, scalable network of thousands of potential drivers, pharmacies can get medications to customers’ doors anywhere in the country — quickly, securely and right away.
Valerie Metzker is head of partnerships and enterprise sales at Roadie.