Would You Use a Pharmacy Kiosk?

Another question from a few years ago that I thought I would throw out here [while I wait for my connecting flight in Charlotte]. Would you use a pharmacy kiosk to drop off your prescription and pick up your prescription as long as you had access to a pharmacist via video conference?

This was an idea that I worked on for about a year. The concept was the following:

  1. Develop a kiosk that had the following functionality:
    • A scanner for you to scan in your paper prescription, insurance card, and identification;
    • A video conference connection for you to talk to a pharmacist who was located remotely using a phone receiver for privacy;
    • A credit card swipe for payment; and
    • Stock the top 200 drugs which could be picked and labeled via robotics and dispensed real-time after your claim was adjudicated and copay collected.
  2. The technology was going to be a blend of what Duane Reade had piloted in NY and what RedBox had created in the DVD space.

redbox_kiosk_1_300.jpg + dr-kiosk.jpg

These kiosks could then be used by the different constituents in the following way:

  • Retail pharmacies to serve as an afterhours pharmacist for certain drugs
  • PBMs as a way to serve employers by putting a kiosk on-site for employees to get acute drugs or short-fills for movement to mail order
  • FDA as a secure way of managing behind-the-counter drugs such as Sudafed where dispensing could be tracked electronically across pharmacies
  • Grocery stores or other retailers as a low-cost customer service play of offering their customers access to drugs without having to invest in inventory and physical assets

I had lots of debate with pharmacists about this.  The pushback of course was whether I was trying to replace or dis-intermediate them.  That was not the objective but rather trying to find a way to allow them to focus on truly providing counseling to patients who needed it while allowing patients filling maintenance drugs or simple acute drugs to get them delivered at the lowest cost.

Given the pharmacist shortage, this seemed like a logical solution to me.  Who knows.  There might be an adoption of this.  It is probably like automated grocery store lines.  I remember seeing them about 10 years ago at a few places and just within the past 2 years they have taken off everywhere.


The one company that had a similar concept, raised funding, and seems to be getting a little progress is Instymeds.  They have focused on using the technology for rural hospitals where pharmacist staffing and afterhours pharmacy access is difficult.  When I spoke with their CEO, they had raised over $10M, had very patient VCs that were willing to wait out the changes needed in the regulatory environment, and had millions from previous successes in the entrepreneurial space.  I wish them luck.

Here is my older entry on some basics around kiosks in healthcare.

2 Responses to “Would You Use a Pharmacy Kiosk?”

  1. This is a very interesting idea, if now days you can buy ipods and what not, why not sell low risk drugs in an automated way? This would also help with lowering prices.

  2. This is another contender in the electronic prescribing and pharmacy kiosk market.

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