Shipment courier

How specialty pharmacies can increase visibility into the shipment of critical patient medications and ensure on-time delivery

Part 3 of a series outlining 5 crucial steps pharmacies can take to improve patient engagement and reduce operational costs.

In previous articles, we’ve correlated greater patient engagement with a pharmacy’s ability to leverage multiple communication channels, such as email and mobile text messaging, by tailoring them to the preferences of customers. today’s savvy consumers.

We also looked at how using package tracking technology with data, insights and predictive analytics can improve pharmacy operational processes and upfront planning – before an order ships – to minimize lost or delayed parcels and improve patient satisfaction (Net Promoter Score).

However, we cannot anticipate all the challenges that life throws at carriers. When real-time obstacles arise, such as weather, temperature extremes, or environmental changes, they’ll likely increase shipping delays and costs, negatively impact patient engagement, and wreak havoc on patients. pharmacy operations.

We need better data, analytics and insights across the medicine delivery journey that can help healthcare providers measure and determine the impact these unforeseen conditions will have on the successful delivery of critical medicines to patients. . Additionally, we must help plan and prepare the pharmacy for proactive patient communications and coordination with real-time carriers and to help ensure that medications are not lost or delayed.

This information and analysis will help the pharmacy proactively reach out to patients and set appropriate expectations for the delivery of their medications.

Medication returns are expensive

Specialty pharmacies spend millions of dollars each year returning medications due to carrier-related delays or lost packages resulting from mechanical, weather or transit delays. For most of 2021, nearly 18% of last-mile retail deliveries were not delivered on time.*

Whatever the cause, carrier-related delays contribute to lost revenue, increased referral costs, negative customer experiences, and compliance issues.

Knowing that unforeseen delays will occur, specialty pharmacies should focus on improving their operations in 3 critical areas.

1. Monitoring of all critical patient medications in real time from start to finish on all carrier delivery systems. You need better visibility along the package delivery journey as medication leaves the pharmacy loading dock.

If specialty pharmacies rely solely on carrier scans to alert them to packaging issues, they may not discover there is a problem until it is potentially too late to do anything about it. it would be. Instead, they can be proactive participants as medication leaves the pharmacy loading dock to the patient front door by monitoring delivery data and analytics from all carriers and visually managing this. who is delivered on time, who may be in distress or experiencing delivery delays, and what needs rescue or intervention, all in an intuitive reporting system and dashboard.

Pharmacies need to know when medications will arrive at each stage of the delivery journey to effectively manage their operations and communication with patients.

To manage the day-to-day complexity of the delivery process, a reporting system should:

  • Track packages through all carrier facilities and determine if packages should be delivered with the expected level of service.
  • Provide daily analytics on package delivery trends across carrier and courier performance, by zip code, state, and day of the week.
  • Identify and alert calamity reports on all recent shipping disruptions so that smart contingency decisions can be made using the best information available.

2. Communicate proactively to increase patient confidence in package delivery, reduce patient stress and improve patient engagement.

Specialty pharmacies that use smart, proactive notification tools (e.g., email, text, and phone calls) to keep patients informed when packages are experiencing distress or delay improve customer engagement, mitigate anxiety and reduce call center labor costs by drastically reducing the number of incoming calls. With a mobile phone, patients should be able to view and track the drug delivery schedule.

3. Rescue critical packages that are in distress or could not be delivered on time.

Delivery delays can be a problem for any logistics manager, but when it comes to life-saving and air-conditioned medicines, it’s more than just a hassle, it’s an emergency.

Specialty pharmacies that monitor and respond in real time to all at-risk shipments by redirecting or rescuing them can ensure that the most urgent therapies reach their patients’ hands exactly when they need them.

Focus on surveillance, communication and rescue to reduce unnecessary and costly expenses and write-offs

By mastering the critical areas of package monitoring, patient communication, and package response or rescue, specialty pharmacies can reduce: pharmacists answering customer calls; call center labor costs by reducing the number of incoming calls; reshipments by minimizing unclaimed return to sender (RTS) packages; compliance issues in achieving higher membership rates; freight spend by optimizing carrier service levels; and accountability by ensuring that the patient receives their essential medications on time.

What to look for when choosing a solution

Selecting a technology solutions provider to ensure essential patient medications arrive on time and in the right place doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

Here is a checklist to help you identify the right supplier:

  • Parcel Delivery Monitoring: Supplier :
    • Constantly monitor flight delays, power outages and bad weather?
    • Providing calamity reports on all recent shipping disruptions?
    • Provide weekly analytics on carrier and courier performance?
    • Provide a convenient reporting dashboard for call center agents?
  • proactive communication: Does the solution have a system to automatically notify patients of:
    • When was the package shipped?
    • When is the package expected to be delivered?
    • When the package is in distress?
    • When was the package delivered?
  • Last mile delivery, intervention or rescue: Is the provider part of a messaging network:
    • With regional and local partners in all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska, and Puerto Rico?
    • Who can work directly with FedEx, UPS, or any other major carrier to deliver same-day medications on your behalf?
    • Can it protect the effectiveness of your specialty therapies by keeping your cold chain or shipments at room temperature overnight in certified storage facilities across the country?
    • Who employs professional, HIPAA-compliant, medically certified agents available 24 hours a day? Remember that couriers are an extension of your brand in these situations.

*Source: On-Time Rates Drop for USPS and UPS, Climb for FedEx Before Holidays: Convey. Average based on reports from January to October 2021.

About the Author

Sebastian Pistritto is Vice President of Marketing for ParcelShield, a company that provides predictive analytics and support services that reduce risk to shippers and improve patient or end-user satisfaction. Focused on specialty pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, mail-order pharmacies, and high-value non-pharmaceutical businesses, ParcelShield has predictive artificial intelligence and machine learning models that provide real-time insights, independent of the operator, on the risks of deliverability to prevent the distress of packages before it happens.