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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.
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