The ideal prescription reordering app is user-friendly, available on Apple & Android, improves your workflow, and integrates not only with your other systems (like your website) but with the GP surgeries’ systems too.
Finding the best prescription reordering app for your pharmacy is an important part of setting up your pharmacy digitally. It allows the patient to nominate you as their pharmacy easily, which secures them to your business and improves your workflow significantly, with regular orders all digitally stored and secured ready for you to process. Data shows that patients who use an app for their repeat prescriptions are loyal to those pharmacies.
From a patients’ point of view, they just want the damn thing to work.
The four apps we’ll review are all great and, by and large, meet those criteria. If you don’t already work with an app, any option will be a marked improvement to your working life. However, there are unique aspects to each app making each more appealing to some pharmacy owners than others.
Obviously, there’s also the option for you to create your own custom app. There is naturally a development cost to that upfront, but it does mean a completely customisable app that does everything you need it to. There’s the added bonus that once you’ve paid for it, it’s yours forever.
In this guide, we highlight the USPs for:
- The NHS App
- Patient Access
Please note: As of this publication, we are not affiliated with any pharmacy prescription app provider and this has been written with no bias. It is for information purposes and comprises of what we know when doing our research into them on a top-level, some feedback we’ve naturally been given from our clients, and the experience we have in using the apps ourselves. We are by no means indicating one is better over the other and it’s up to you to decide which will be right for your particular business. Furthermore, these apps are in no order of priority and numbered randomly.
Healthera couldn’t really feel more on-trend for the pandemic if it tried. A “direct line” to your pharmacist is not only a great offering for the app, but for you as a pharmacist. With phones ringing off the hook, it’s a frustrating experience for the patient trying and failing to get through to order vital medication, especially if they only have a limited window to call.
The ability to send a message with the same ease as sending any text message as well as ordering repeat prescriptions directly through an app is a big win for the patient – and therefore you as well.
Your Branding (optional extra)
A big plus of Healthera is their White Label option, which is the ability to have their app but with your own branding. This also avoids the problematic issue of sending your patients to an app that shows them your competitors, especially when competitors are more geographically convenient. Healthera also acts as a signpost for your business. If people sign up via Healthera from their GP with no pharmacy in mind, and see your free delivery, you could end up acquiring a new patient. When signing patients up directly, you give them a direct link (or QR code) which takes them straight to your pharmacy on the app (so this doesn’t happen to you!)
Healthera’s White Label option is popular with big pharmacy groups like Weldricks & Alphega.
Healthera also offers the option to book services online at your pharmacy, which is great functionality at a time when demand is high. It’s a great function if you don’t already have a way for patients to book online. But if you have a booking calendar on your website as well, Healthera’s booking calendar won’t integrate – so monitor carefully to avoid double-bookings. If you have capacity to take two appointments at the same time, it’s great. If you don’t and two people show up at the same time for the same service? Less great.
A great option catering for people who look after younger or older members of their family. Carer mode allows management of multiple patients’ medication through one log-in.
Registering once as yourself is fine on other apps, but when setting up a Child’s account on the same phone – which you would if, I don’t know, you’re a perfectly normal parent in a perfectly normal scenario – the app has a full-on meltdown. Not with Carer Mode.
Overall, Healthera is a safe horse to back. trusted by so many pharmacies already in the UK. It might not have every feature you could ever wish for, but neither will any mainstream app.
MedAdvisor is brand new into the UK market, so if you haven’t heard of them, don’t fret. They’ve arrived on the back of great success in Australia with an offering that rivals any existing app.
They have a web app and dashboard, meaning elderly patients who aren’t comfortable with mobile apps can still use the service. I know elderly people don’t tend to need a lot of medication or healthcare, so you could probably ignore that demographic. You know, if going out of business is on your to-do list. Seriously though, even if 25% of your elderly patients used the app instead of calling your pharmacy, imagine how much time that saves your team.
Your Branding (optional extra)
MedAdvisor, like Healthera, also offers the option of White Label apps. So if you’re looking for a branded solution, this is another great option for you. MedAdvisor works in the same way as Healthera, you send your patient a link, which when followed will only show your pharmacy. On other apps, all your competitors and their distance from your patient are displayed for them to select you as their pharmacy. This eliminates a big risk factor if the patient has no real loyalty to your pharmacy that they’ll go elsewhere for more convenience.
This, as mentioned, is an ace in the hole for your patients, and MedAdvisor comes equipped with this as well.
The ability to register as a Carer and manage your family’s prescriptions is so central to most of your target market, which is mothers. As a general rule, mothers rule the roost when decision-making on a pharmacy so catering for them will always yield positive results.
Do you struggle to promote your clinical services? If you do, the first thing you should check out is Google Ads for your pharmacy which is by far the most effective way of getting your services in front of people who need them.
But as well as that, Patient Access is well worth thinking about. Even if you already use another prescription reordering app. Here’s why.
When a patient signs up to Patient Access, the experience is (digitally) the best introduction they could have to the benefits of your clinical services. It’s simple, relevant and beautifully presented.
They’re asked about conditions they have or are interested in, such as quitting smoking. There are blogs, explanations of treatments, and recommendations of local service providers (like you, if you’re registered with Patient Access).
They have a web app and dashboard, meaning, again, elderly patients are catered to. It’s also got great review questions for the patients when they’re investigating health advice such as asthma. Keeping patients within a regulated healthcare app searching for help for their symptoms is a great holistic solution. Otherwise, they’re left to the whims of the internet, advised to rush to the emergency room for their headache and touch of the sniffles.
Accessing “Patient Access” as a patient…
It’s tragically ironic that, of all the apps I’ve tested as a patient, this is the hardest to access. As well as fingerprint access (which seems fairly secure already) I was asked to set up a memorable word. I set up an 8 character word. At times when signing-in, it has asked me for the 9th character of my 8 character word. Fairly tedious. A quick check of the online reviews suggests this is a recent addition, and wildly unpopular. I’m sure this will get looked at, but it’s always worth bearing in mind that by adopting this software, you are recommending it to patients. A frustrating experience will reflect negatively on you.
There’s a one-off cost for setup, and Patient Access takes a 15% cut of the price of any clinical service that is booked through their app. But 85% of a sale is better than 100% of no sale. Patient Access is another source of referrals for you to potentially grow your business.
If you want a trusted name, look no further. One mention of the NHS sells patients on this as essentially an official part of the process. It’s perfect if you just need a stock offering that does what it says on the tin. It’s hard to distance yourself from an app when something goes wrong if it’s branded to you, or if the patient never heard of it but you recommended they use it. If something goes wrong with the NHS App, it’s unlikely you’ll be associated negatively. Public perception will just be that it’s the “NHS” in general, not you specifically.
It also makes it possible for anyone to nominate you as their pharmacy, as the NHS App doesn’t rely on the GP’s IT enabling this option.
Being the NHS comes with its drawbacks though. As it’s publicly funded, the internal processes for app updates may well be slower than a private company. Features that aren’t seen as mainstream won’t be available through this app, as the NHS App will cater to the majority.
The NHS has a web app which as previously discussed for Medadvisor, is a critically good inclusion. Even if people are comfortable with using mobile devices, sometimes it’s just more convenient to use a desktop. Having more ways to access your medication is always a benefit.
Some see it as a positive, some unnecessarily fidgety. With the NHS App, patients must prove their identity before reordering prescriptions. This is great to reduce fraud, but it may also increase patient frustration with the setup process. This could dissuade them from using the service altogether.
You’re on the NHS App whether you like it or not
This is the bare minimum you should recommend to your patients, as it’s an option you’ll already be featured on. This gives patients the ability to nominate you for EPS and order their repeat prescriptions electronically without you investing anything into the service.
An up and coming player…Manage My Meds
Manage My Meds isn’t yet as popular numerically with some of these other players, having only launched in December 2020. But it’s got lots of the features that make these other apps great and is well worth a look in.
Whichever Prescription Reordering App you go for…
Always consider not only your current parameters but also what your pharmacy will need in the next few years. Once you have a few hundred patients signed up to an app, it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to switch providers. This isn’t a decision to take lightly, as it will significantly impact your business.
Have you been using any of these Prescription Reordering apps for your pharmacy? Finding a solution useful or poor? We’d love to hear from you.
If you’re looking for help in selecting the prescription reordering app for your pharmacy, please get in touch with us. Our Director, Saam, is a pharmacist of 15+ years, and we speak to literally 100’s of pharmacists every week using a variety of different prescription reordering apps, we’re in the know.