5 Reasons Virtual Pharmacy is Right for Your Organization
When you have a question about your prescriptions, who are you more likely to ask – your pharmacist or your primary care provider (PCP)?
On average, most people see their pharmacist between 1.5 and 10 times more than their PCP. Whether that’s because pharmacists are usually located in the community, seem to have more time to talk, or don’t usually require an appointment, they can cut down on the time a person spends managing their medications. But what if you could go even further and put that expertise in an employee’s pocket, no drive to the pharmacy necessary?
Virtual pharmacy empowers people to access pharmacy resources wherever and however is easiest for them, with secure direct messaging, video chats and phone calls with their pharmacist, while also receiving convenient and cost-effective prescriptions directly to their door.
But how do you know if your company is ready to provide a virtual pharmacy for your population? Here are five signs that your organization is primed to step into the future of pharmacy, and one sign it’s not:
1. Your workforce is dispersed or partially remote.
According to a McKinsey & Company study in spring 2022, 58 percent of Americans can work from home at least one day a week, and 35 percent have the option to work from home five days a week. That’s a significant portion of the workforce who are no longer tied to their office when they choose where to live – or get their healthcare.
Whether your remote employees and their families are just around the corner or spread out across the country, providing the same high-quality pharmacy experience to everyone, everywhere can be a challenge, especially if you’re relying on retail options.
Virtual pharmacy solutions provide direct access to a centralized group of pharmacists, making it an easy way to ensure your entire insured population gets the same level of care. That means that your employee’s favorite pharmacist in urban Miami can also connect with their coworker in rural Montana, all at the touch of a button.
2. You have a lot of employees with chronic conditions.
Patients with multiple chronic conditions account for over 83 percent of all prescriptions filled, and on average, fill more than 4 medications for chronic conditions over 90 days. That adds up to a lot of time standing in line at the pharmacy, and even more opportunities for questions to arise on how to take all these medications properly.
A virtual pharmacy solution gives populations easy access to their chronic condition medications through prescription delivery, plus the tools needed to independently schedule time with their pharmacist and ask crucial questions. Need to know if your prescription interacts with Ibuprofen? Have a question around what other supplies you might need to best manage your diabetes? Imagine a real person with those answers was right at your fingertips.
This kind of access to one-on-one coaching and education means a better chance to get better. A 2018 study found that pharmacist-led medication therapy management and regular communication with care team members resulted in a 79 percent recovery rate for individuals with hypertension.
3. Convenient access to medications is one of your top priorities.
How people use pharmacies are changing. In a world where nearly everything can be delivered to your doorstep, picking up prescriptions from the pharmacy may not be a convenient process for some. Simultaneously, companies are struggling to meet the needs of those who find it challenging to get to a local pharmacy because of their location, lack of transportation, work schedules, or physical impairments.
Virtual pharmacy meets these members where they are – literally. At Premise, once a member starts filling their medications with the virtual pharmacy, prescriptions are automatically refilled and delivered to their door well before they run out. This isn’t just a computer algorithm pushing pills it thinks you need. Instead, it’s a real pharmacist performing a comprehensive review of each member’s medications, and proactively outreaching to the member to ensure only appropriate medications are refilled.
Because patients no longer have to rely on that trip to a local pharmacy, this service results in increased medication fulfillment and adherence, and better health outcomes for those who might have opted to skip taking their prescriptions previously.
4. You have other virtual healthcare products and are ready to take it to the next level.
Organizations are often forced to work with a dozen independent point solutions for population health, and very often none of these are integrated or held to the same quality standard. This creates a disjointed member experience that’s confusing and hard to navigate, plus it’s a headache to manage from a budget and relationship perspective for employers.
Delivering a virtual pharmacy and virtual primary care solution on the same platform reduces healthcare costs by making it super simple for employees and dependents to engage with their health benefits through one familiar care team. Not only are employers no longer struggling to manage solutions from dozens of companies, but they’re also getting consistent guidance on where to focus their spend to support employee health and wellbeing.
Our virtual pharmacy team shares the same electronic health record (EHR) with the rest of the Premise Health care team, allowing for seamless sharing of member data and a more holistic approach to total care. Meanwhile, having a single platform where members can manage their health information, schedule appointments, and refill prescriptions makes it easier for them to stay on top of their health.
5. You’re not sure your current pharmacy benefits are delivering the most value.
Maybe it’s that you’re struggling to meet your goals to reduce pharmaceutical waste or seeing an uptick in medication spend. Maybe your employees are receiving far more than their necessary medical supplies or are struggling to afford their prescriptions.
Maybe you aren’t sure that you’re getting what you pay for, or maybe you’re just not sure that it’s the right benefit for your employees.
A virtual pharmacy solution can work with your pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) to offer more than just mail-order prescriptions. This complementary approach to medication management includes pharmacist-led consultation to maximize benefits and formulary savings based on your benefit plan and preference, on top of responding to the needs of your members. Plus, a pharmacist can help you strategize around generic dispensing, therapeutic interchange, copay programs, specialty medication management, and other fail-safes to keep you on track with your pharmacy goals. This results in out-of-pocket savings for members, as well as savings for employers who are managing their plan’s prescription drug spend.
One sign virtual pharmacy might not be right for your organization:
You just want a prescription delivery service.
While the convenience of getting medication delivered directly to your door can be a huge perk of implementing a virtual pharmacy, there’s far more to a comprehensive solution than robotic refills.
Integration between a virtual pharmacist and primary care provider improves access to the right people and ensures that members are benefiting from the expertise of a cohesive care team that keeps the bigger picture in mind.
The high-touch activities these teams provide– including one-on-one medication support, behavior coaching, and disease-specific education- can mean the difference between prescriptions improving health and recovery, or money wasted.
Premise Health’s virtual pharmacy product takes a consultative approach that goes beyond simply dispensing medication. Virtual pharmacists help members across the U.S. make smarter medication decisions through one-on-one consultations, proactive prescription refills, secure messaging, and more. It’s healthcare that’s more convenient, connected, and personal.