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Several Pharmacies Offer Online Services For Patients

Posted on August 8, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

I’ve recently become acquainted with ePharmacies (I don’t know if that’s the official name, but that’s what I’m going to call it), such as the ones available through Walgreens.com and Target.com. It all started when I realized that my son’s acid reflux medicine was quickly disappearing (which would make life miserable for everyone involved if it was completely gone), and I would need to transfer that prescription from our pharmacy in Utah to somewhere in Colorado. While yes, I could have called the pharmacy of choice to do the transfer, I decided to see if I could. And, lo and behold, I could. Through the process, I discovered the online world of transferring and re-filling prescriptions, and I don’t think I’ll go back.

While there are probably quite a few pharmacies that offer online services, the two I will be talking about today are from Walgreens.com and Target.com. I first started out with Walgreens.com, because it said I would get a $25 gift card for transferring a prescription. The pharmacy website is very well-organized and has a lot of information to help you find what you need. Here is a screen shot of its homepage:

Here, you can refill prescriptions, use express refills, transfer or start a new prescription, as well view information about other topics such as vaccines, drug interactions, health tests, and the more. A Walgreens.com is required to use a lot of the features, but it’s free and they don’t bombard you with tons of junk email.

I really like the “Ask a Pharmacist” page. It lists the answers to common questions about health, but also has the option to talk a pharmacist, day or night…for free! Most of the time things like this cost money, so I think it’s awesome that Walgreens has that option available.

Prescriptions can be picked up in-store or shipped for free, which is nice. I wish I had known about this when I was pregnant, when I got prescriptions for a couple things but never ended up getting them filled because I felt too sick to leave the house and visit the pharmacy. The process to get prescriptions filled isn’t too complicated. After logging in, you either select transfer, refill, or new prescriptions, and enter in the required information (drug name, doctor’s name and phone number — if starting a new prescription –, patient’s name, etc.), and it adds the prescription to your cart, and from there you can specify a pick-up location or shipping address.

There is also the option to manage family prescriptions, which is what I needed to do. Unfortunately, for children under 18, they already must have a prescription at Walgreens before they can be added to a parent’s account. I don’t really like this, because I would have had to call my doctor or former pharmacist to get them to transfer it over to Walgreens so I could get a prescription number for my son, which kind of defeats the purpose of doing it online. I also had issues with the verification process required after getting an account, which was resolved only after talking with a customer service representative for awhile. Overall, I think it’s a good website for those who have already-existing prescriptions at Walgreens, particularly if it is for children.

Since I wasn’t successful with Walgreens, I checked out Target’s online pharmacy. It was a much, much simpler process — it doesn’t even require an account. You can’t fill a new prescription online, but you can refill or transfer one. It only takes a few moments, you indicate if you want it shipped or which store you want to pick it up at, and you are done. I was excited that the process took such little time, but I sure was disappointed when I got to the store only to find out the request didn’t even go through! It must have been a bug with the website, but it was very frustrating. I did find the process simpler than Walgreens, and I might use it again in the future, just maybe not for a transfer.

Target also has a “Mobile Pharmacy”, which can be found on any mobile phone by typing in target.com/RX. It’s very simple, no bells and wishes, but is perfect for someone on the go. There are just a few options — find a pharmacy, refill a prescription, transfer a prescription or sign-up for auto refills. I’d show a screenshot, but it isn’t working on my mobile phone right now. I’m glad that Target offers this option, as I mentioned in my post about Care4Today, I really thought it would be cool to be able to fill prescriptions through a mobile phone.

So these are just two of the many options for ePharmacies. Some are obviously more comprehensive, like Walgreens.com, and others less complicated, like Target.com, but it seems like there is something for everyone. It does make it easier to manage prescriptions, especially when it can be done from a mobile phone.

Food Brings Clinical and IT Together and Other Clinical-IT Perceptions

Posted on I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve gotten quite the response from my post about Hospital IT and Nursing Perceptions on EMR and HIPAA. Since many of you don’t read all the comments (particularly those that are sent to my by email or left on other social media), I thought I’d share a couple of them that I found worth sharing.

First up is what I think is an eternal principle: FOOD!

As an Rn who spent most of 30yrs in IT thus works well:

Advice for Nursing: Sent Pizza
Advice for IT: Bring Doughnuts

Then take the time to listen. Ya gott’a have Big Ears!!!!!!!!!

Since I’m an IT Guy by background, I can assure you that I’ve done amazing work on the back of doughnuts. Although, I think Pizza would have worked for me as well, but it’s hard to beat a great doughnut. I do like the final comment though about listening. I always love “breaking bread” with someone because then you have something special that remains with you after the fact. Plus, I have a great memory and so once I’ve shared a meal with someone I will never forget them (their name maybe, but never them).

This next opinion is a bit stronger (and possibly more cynical), but I hope will start some really good discussion.

I’ll tell you I’m a former clinical lab person who moved to IT, so I have a warped sense of nursing and their perception of their purpose in life from way back.

IT’S PERCEPTION OF IT: We’d be more than happy to double our personnel in order to halve our response time if administration would fork over the budget for it. We have done everything we can think of to speed response time—help desk carries the phone with them at all times so they can answer it regardless where in the hospital they are, we have the capacity via VNC to spy on a session so the person doesn’t have to wait for us to walk over to the nursing unit to see what is going on, and more. If the people other than help desk are not on the phone, they get the call when it is forwarded.

IT’S PERCEPTION OF NURSING: Nurses are control freaks with OCD issues. We have a computer every four feet along every wall in every nursing station, in every patient room, and on wheels so they can be taken anywhere they want. They decide which one they are going to use for the day and, if it dies, they cannot be pried away to a different device. THEIRS is broken. And they have no idea that electronics are part of patient care now, not just an add-on to their work. Too many cannot comprehend that because they don’t feel like scanning a patient armband before giving them meds, it is okay to get the computer off their back by scanning anything with the patient number on it instead—a marvelous way to circumvent patient safety aspects of computerization.

If nursing (and physicians, too, for that matter) spent as much energy deciding they were going to learn how to most efficiently use their electronics as they do complaining about them, there wouldn’t be extra time taken away from patient care. It would become a break-even proposition.

One thing is absolutely certain: it’s not an easy task to bridge the IT and clinical divide. I bet a great book could be written on the subject.