The Connected Pharmacy of 2020

At the conference last week, I was talking about the opportunity for retail pharmacy to play a broader role as the patient’s medical home.  As part of that discussion, I tried to create a vision of a digitally connected location.  Here’s my summary of that…

Imagine that the pill bottle you use is now a smart object (expanding on the RxVitality concept).  It now knows when you are running low on pills.  Since it’s connected to your WiFi signal and to your smart phone, as soon as you’re low, it does the following:

  • Send a new refill request to the pharmacy (or to your physician if you’re out of refills)
  • Puts a reminder in your phone for you to pick up the prescription (action item list, calendar) and updates that once it gets confirmation on time from the pharmacy

As you’re driving by the pharmacy, your smart phone reminds you to pick up the Rx as it knows where you are based on GPS.

When you enter the pharmacy, it has a system to capture information from your devices or phone about your sleeping habits, what you’ve been eating, and your exercise.  All of this information is important for them to actively manage your health.  Additionally, as you enter the pharmacy, they use a technology like FaceDeals to recognize you and do several things:

  • Alert the pharmacy that you’re in the store so they can pull your prescription
  • Pull up your CRM (customer relationship management) profile so they pharmacist and tech can great you by name and link back to other information (i.e., Hi George.  Are you here to pick up your prescription?  By the way, how did those crutches work out?)
  • Offer you a coupon on some new OTCs or medical supplies based on your chronic disease(s)

While you’re shopping (at a grocery or big box pharmacy), you’re linking your smart phone to the smart cart which is helping you navigate the store.  As it confirms your identify via fingerprint or facial recognition, it opens up a link to your medical data.  This allows the cart to help you navigate the store and scans everything you put into the cart to look for drug-food interactions (e.g., grapefruit juice).  It also helps to steer you to better food options (eat this not that) based on your diagnoses (i.e., for a diabetic, I would suggest this other cereal).  All of this is happening on your screen to protect your privacy.

By the time you get to the pharmacy, you stand in front of the register which has a scale embedded in the floor so they can instantly know your weight and compare that to your last measurement.  Since they are now tied into your medical data, the Point of Sale technology also gets relevant alerts that they can talk with you about (e.g., Did you know that your health coverage has changed?  Did you know that you have access to a health coach to discuss your condition?).

As you leave, all of the data they collected is integrated and pushed out to both your personal health record (PHR) along with the electronic medical record (EHR) that your physician uses.  Any new risks identified are also shared with your caregiver or others in your social circle that you’ve identified and opted-in to receive information.  This social connectivity helps to create the village necessary to drive change.

Scary or fascinating?  I prefer to think about this as a fascinating way of leveraging technology and data to make my experience better and improve my outcomes, but I know not everyone will feel that way.

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