Expanding Patient Services & Medication Accessibility

A Case Study by Blackcreek Digital.

Client: MedAvail Technologies Inc.
Vertical: Pharmacy, Automated Retail.
Headquarters: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.


Blackcreek Digital (under the brand name SwiftPad) worked with MedAvail Technologies Inc. to improve their 24-hour self-serve pharmacy kiosk by designing, developing, and deploying a companion application. The mobile application facilitated the use of the kiosk by: bringing down the end-to-end transaction time from up to 5 minutes down to as little as 45 seconds, alleviating patient concerns about privacy, and removing the need for a mandatory pharmacist consultation for the purpose of dispensing.

The Problem

The current methods of dispensing are time consuming, costly & difficult to scale.

North America and other developed markets around the world are experiencing slow prescription growth. With low profit margins and increasing operating expenses, pharmacy businesses have a need to optimize current assets by generating new revenue streams through expanded patient-centred services. Unfortunately, pharmacists are busy with traditional dispensing services, and patients are having poor customer experiences waiting 15 to 45 minutes for their medication orders.

Moreover, the economic growth in frontier and emerging markets is driving the expansion of health care access to hundreds of millions of people. However there are concerns about the sustainability of the growth, particularly for medication accessibility given the unique challenges of high population density and remote areas for retail pharmacy businesses.

The problems in developed and developing markets are different: the former is experiencing slow prescription growth with a need to optimize current assets, while the latter is undergoing accelerated growth and requires a rapid expansion of medication accessibility. However, the goal is the same: a low-cost, scalable dispensing solution without mandatory pharmacist involvement.

The Solution

A 24-hour, self-serve pharmacy kiosk.

MedAvail Technologies Inc., a Walgreens subsidiary, addressed these problems in the retail pharmacy industry with a 24-hour self-serve kiosk. The pharmacy kiosk provides secure, immediate access to prescription and Over-the-Counter medications. It has over 500 medications in stock and provides access for one-on-one communication with a live pharmacist.

Due to regulatory and technology constraints, certain processes in the automated dispensing workflow increased the average end-to-end transaction time for a patient using the kiosk to approximately 5 minutes. In addition, every dispensing workflow required a mandatory consultation with a live pharmacist. These issues reduced the potential impact of the technology and limited the value provided to patients and pharmacy businesses, and the overall health care system.

A companion application to solve the limitations of the pharmacy kiosk.

Blackcreek Digital helped reduce the end-to-end transaction time from up to 5 minutes down to as little as 45 seconds.

Blackcreek Digital worked with MedAvail to design, develop, and deploy a companion application that facilitated the use of the 24-hour self-serve kiosks. Using the mobile application patients can pre-order and reserve their medication, allowing the kiosk to begin processing the workflow ahead of time and reducing the critical path. The companion application also eliminated the need for a mandatory consultation for the purpose of dispensing - communication with a live pharmacist became optional.

Overall the mobile application reduced the end-to-end transaction time from up to 5 minutes down to as little as 45 seconds, while alleviating patient concerns about privacy and stock availability.

Smart design choices through close collaboration.

The companion application was designed and integrated directly with MedAvail’s pharmacy management system, keeping all past orders, available refills, and patient information in sync across the overarching infrastructure. Real time prescription order updates pushed to the user’s devices further ensured all information in the system and its components was synchronized.

By working together to develop the mobile solution and making the necessary changes to the server back end in tandem, the process for placing an order through the companion application was made to be fast and easy:

  • The user selects the refill they require.
  • The user is notified once the order is ready through a push notification.
  • A barcode is provided that can be scanned at the kiosk to pick up the medication.

The Outcome

Blackcreek Digital and MedAvail are expanding patient services & medication accessibility.

The 24-hour self-serve pharmacy kiosk together with the companion application provides value for patients, pharmacists, and the entire health care system. Through virtue of a low-cost, scalable dispensing solution that does not require mandatory pharmacist intervention, pharmacy businesses are empowered to expand valuable patient-centred services while improving medication accessibility for their customers.

Pharmacists can now optimize their resources by focusing on MTM, CDM, and other patient-centred services that drive revenue and result in better patient outcomes. The self-serve pharmacy kiosk and mobile application continues to work after hours, providing convenience and balancing customer traffic during peak hours across the full 24 hours.

The kiosk with the companion application provides value beyond the pharmacy as well, by expanding medication accessibility in remote areas and urgent care circumstances for hospitals & clinics. It also provides patient convenience and generates new revenue streams for public spaces, airports, colleges, universities, condominiums, corporate campuses, and more.

The case study above is an abbreviated version of our complete, long-form case study.

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