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Industry updates and trends

Telehealth's Impact on The Pharmacy Industry

January 31, 2024

There’s no denying that telehealth is an integral part of healthcare in the 21st century. From its meteoric rise as a tool during the COVID-19 pandemic to the current levels of adoption we see across patients of all ages, telehealth has affected every aspect of healthcare.

Luckily, telehealth presents exciting opportunities for pharmacies of all sizes to better serve their community, connect with new patients, and boost profits. Let’s dive into the impact that telehealth can have on your independent pharmacy.

The Rise of Telehealth 

While telehealth existed pre-2020 and was steadily growing in popularity, the COVID-19 pandemic increased publication adoption to unseen levels due to sheer necessity. One survey found that 92% of clinicians were providing services using telehealth.

With any new piece of technology, sometimes certain populations can be hesitant to adopt, wary of new processes, or may even just lack the computer skills to consider adoption. Since nearly 100% telehealth adoption was a non-negotiable while in a state of emergency, we saw a ton of resources come to the rescue that addressed these adoption challenges head-on. 

And now in 2024, we’re no longer in a national state of emergency, but many of the telehealth systems put into place remain. Contactless or virtual check-in is a staple in pharmacies and clinics, doctors are still completing many appointments via video-chat appointments, and patients have become accustomed, or even partial to, managing their health digitally.

And so though telehealth was always inevitable, it’s now a cornerstone of modern healthcare in our post-2020 world.

Changing Patient Expectations

It’s the assumption that many patients, especially those in the aging population, aren’t interested in telehealth and other digital healthcare options, but that isn’t always the case. In a survey from Deloitte, over half of respondents said they’d be willing to try a telehealth appointment to meet their needs.

This research acknowledges a whopping 59% of Americans of all ages have used online or mobile methods for refilling prescriptions — but that’s nothing compared to the 92% of Americans who shop online. 

It’s easy to compare the difference in those numbers and assume that going ‘online’ may not be a huge deal for your pharmacy’s bottom line, but that’s not necessarily true. The COVID-19 pandemic proved that the world of healthcare and pharmacies is often shaped by outside factors — and changing consumer preferences could be a huge influence on how people behave as patients and what they expect as table stakes from their local pharmacy.

Online shopping features like BOPUS (Buy Online Pick Up in Store) have taken the retail world by storm for shoppers of all ages. They love the convenience and simplicity it brings. The independent pharmacies that can deliver the same easy experience to patients looking to get more done, faster than ever before will be the ones who win!

How Independent Pharmacies Can Leverage Telehealth

Telehealth is here to stay — and luckily it can make all the difference for independent pharmacies looking to streamline their processes, maximize profits, and best serve their communities.

  • Virtual Consultations: The most obvious benefit of telehealth for pharmacies lies in the opportunity to use virtual consultations. Patients want more avenues to get in touch with a trusted pharmacist. One study found that from March 2020 onwards, 25.8% of patients used pharmacist advice more often.
  • Online Checkout: Recent studies have shown that nearly 1/3rd of all US patients paid a medical expense online last year. Taking payment for prescriptions securely online not only meets patients’ demands — it saves your staff from the tedious task of collecting information and entering it into your system. This means you can spend less time doing cashier work and more time serving your patients.
  • Wellness and Refill Reminders: 75% of patients across all age groups have reported using a digital assistant for health or medication reminders. Take the power of patient adherence and wellness into your own hands with systems that remind patients virtually when it’s time to refill the medication they need to stay healthy — and make it easy for them to check out and get their prescriptions with your pharmacy!

While nothing will ever beat face-to-face time with your patients, independent pharmacies can see a huge upside from using the best features telehealth has to offer. If you’re interested in how NimbleRx can take your pharmacy online and to the next level, reach out to us for a tailored walk-through of our platform, today.

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