Uber Health, ScriptDrop, Last Mile, and You

By Mark Lutcavish

The term “new normal” as we have all heard has deeply impacted all of us! Over a year ago our lives changed overnight. We used to run out to the grocery store, pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy and grab a bite to eat as a weekly or monthly routine. Over a year later the “new normal” continues: our takeout is delivered right to our doors, curbside pickups replaced our usual errands, and our prescriptions show up in the mail.

With the push for delivery services becoming a necessity rather than a luxury, it’s only natural that the most popular delivery services branch out into other industries. Take Uber for example. The company originally started out with rideshare services and eventually branched out to offer food delivery. Eventually, they created Uber Health, a service that enables healthcare organizations to help arrange rides for their patients, so no appointments are missed. Recently, Uber Health partnered with the software company ScriptDrop to expand into the prescription delivery business.

ScriptDrop, an Ohio-Based startup, works with pharmacies to establish and improve their prescription delivery services. ScriptDrop provides multiple solutions to help pharmacies find the ideal way to get prescriptions to their patient’s doorstep. With this partnership, Uber customers would be able to take advantage of the delivery services with their medications.

As home delivery options expand, what impact do partnerships like Uber and ScriptDrop have on your pharmacy and your patients? Are you preparing your pharmacy for the changes that could come as home delivery options become more widely available? I wanted to take a moment to review the pros and cons of partnerships like this one and how they can impact the pharmacy industry going forward.

Pros

– This program is great for local independent pharmacies allowing them to reach our senior population and those challenged with transportation
– Provides a platform and delivery service with minimal cost to the pharmacy.
– Helps our local pharmacy owners to continue servicing their patient’s vs losing them to a “big box chain”
– Increase medication compliance. Delivery service provides increased access for prescriptions, so patients are more likely to stay on their medication schedules.

Cons

– There is an increased risk to the pharmacy with potential lost or stolen medication. Adding an additional component such as an Uber driver creates another layer of accountability
– The Uber driver becomes the new face of the pharmacy. Any interaction good or bad will come through that driver. We only remember our bad experiences. Pharmacies can lose patients over that one “bad experience”
– Patient consultation is a big challenge; pharmacies are required to provide this service. If your pharmacy is not equipped to handle this additional task it can have severe consequences
– Suppliers have contract guidelines for pharmacy; these guidelines can limit delivery of medication and add additional auditing and risk to the pharmacy

While Uber delivering medication is a good idea and premise, it seems to create more risk for the pharmacy. When approaching this idea and the concept of delivering medication, you have to ask yourself: Is the low cost worth the risks?

I encourage you to carefully consider all the dangers involved when you are sending high-risk medications to your patients. What could happen if that medication goes missing or expires? How will that affect the patient on the other end of the delivery? With a solution that is tailored to your organization’s needs, you can ensure that risk is minimized. Lost packages, expired medications, and poor customer interactions can impact your patient’s experience. TRIOSE has experts in Last Mile delivery. Our team can help you meet your accreditation and Medicare standards while putting your patients first.

– Mark Lutcavish