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Well trials prescription delivery app as part of online expansion

Well's iPhone app is currently being trialed by a "small group of participants" across England
Well's iPhone app is currently being trialed by a "small group of participants" across England

Well Pharmacy has launched an app as part of its new online prescription service, the multiple has told C+D.

The iPhone app was rolled out to “a small group of participants” in England – recruited via a blog post on the multiple’s website – earlier this month (April 5).

Volunteers are able to order both repeat and one-off prescriptions through the app, with a pharmacist “on hand to answer any questions and sort out any issues”, Well said in its blog post.

Well will “push out new updates” based on users’ feedback, and make the service available on “more platforms and in more areas in the coming months”, it said.

The app is the latest development in Well's digital strategy, following the launch of its online prescription service and rollout of hub-and-spoke dispensing.

Speaking exclusively to C+D last week (April 11), head of transformation Chris Ellett (pictured below) said: “Pharmacy is ripe for transformation, and certainly [Well] as a business – and the industry as a whole – [should] be a bit more customer-focused.Well's head of transformation Chris Ellett

“Consumers are going to other businesses and getting a very different experience than what we’re giving in pharmacy at the moment,” he added.

Mr Ellett said he received a lot of interest on social media when he posted a screenshot of the iPhone app as it went live (see tweet below), which he claimed as further proof that people are looking for “convenience and choice”.

He confirmed to C+D that patients will not be charged for deliveries of medicines ordered via the online service or the app.

Stores are “massively important”

Well head of digital Dan Sheldon (pictured below) stressed that with investment in its digital services comes investment in Well’s 780 stores too.

 Well's head of digital Dan Sheldon

“We’re building what we call internally a ‘digital pharmacy’,” he told C+D. “Some people will still want to come into our stores, [so] we’ll use digital technology to improve the experience in stores.”

“Our vision is not to have digital customers and in-store customers, just more customers, with more choice,” Mr Sheldon added.

Mr Ellett said: “Digital is not about technology per se, it’s not about apps or websites. It often ends up with one of those things, but it’s fundamentally about being more customer-centric.”

It is “massively important to have physical estates”, he stressed. “You can fill prescriptions, you can tick the box, but pharmacy can do so much more than that and that’s where we believe we will succeed.”

What do you make of Well's online expansion?

Anastasia Osypenko, Marketing

It's the right move. Online delivery is what modern consumers want, and not only Millennials. Even though there's still a lack of trust, mobile apps for drug delivery are likely to become the norm and transform the way pharmacies work.

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

Well done. Pun intended. Right approach to future healthcare delivery; omnichannel. Mum ordered her repeat prescription via an app on her phone after the surgery gave her her digital log in details (still awaiting dads), Rx went via EPS to our local chain - they’d have dropped it off for free but my parents like going out to pick it up. Healthcare is already digital, but digital uptake is rather slow from the end user - makes sense, those more impoverished and the elderly can’t as easily be expected to do these things digitally, I shelled out for iPhones for both mum and dad to nudge them along this route. 

Jeff Jobs, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Surely this is just pharmacy ordering and therefore won't work for seemingly well over half of England (and increasing)? Add in to that it's directing prescriptions through an online pharmacy, albeit Well's... Am I missing something here or what?

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

Correct, once most CCG outlaw pharmacy ordering this would be come a bit pointless

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

They will start incurring huge losses like a well known Pharmacy dispensing 250k items per month. Shipping costs too huge to be a personal service for NHS patients

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

"Never send to know for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for thee!"

P M, Community pharmacist

as soon as they transfer patients to online using app theyll close their stores - if they dont ... toys r us...

C A, Community pharmacist

"Stores are massively important"

Mainly because like Boots and Lloyds their hub and spoke model doesn't work, but hey this is what the Department of Health wants.

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