Patients Happier With Brick-and-Mortar Pharmacies


In the seventh-annual report from J.D. Power on pharmacy customer satisfaction, brick-and-mortar pharmacies increased their advantage over mail-order pharmacies.

In the seventh-annual report from J.D. Power on pharmacy customer satisfaction, brick-and-mortar pharmacies increased their advantage over mail-order pharmacies.

Despite a slight uptick in customer satisfaction with mail-order pharmacies, a new report from J.D. Power suggests that customers are still significantly more pleased with their experiences at brick-and-mortar pharmacy locations than those with mail-order pharmacies.

The report, released on September 30, 2013, ranks customer satisfaction based on responses from more than 13,500 patients collected between July and August 2013. All participants had filled a new prescription or refilled a prescription within 3 months of taking part in the survey. Pharmacies included in the report are categorized as mail-order pharmacies or as brick-and-mortar pharmacies, which include supermarkets, mass merchandisers, and chains.

For brick-and-mortar pharmacies, customer satisfaction was measured in 5 areas: prescription ordering, store, cost, non-pharmacist staff, and pharmacist. Customer satisfaction for mail-order pharmacies was scored according to cost, prescription delivery, prescription ordering process, and customer service experience. Based on these measures, each pharmacy was assigned a composite score on a 1000-point scale.

The results from last year’s report found that brick-and-mortar pharmacies had a 22-point advantage in average customer satisfaction compared with mail-order pharmacies. This year, the gap in satisfaction has almost doubled, as survey participants ranked brick-and-mortar pharmacies 40 points higher on average than they did mail-order pharmacies. While the average score for mail-order pharmacies did increase 5 points, to 797, the average score for brick-and-mortar pharmacies increased 23 points, to 837. The survey also found that patients are using brick-and-mortar pharmacies more frequently: 61% of patients reported refilling prescriptions at a brick-and-mortar pharmacy, up from 58% in 2010.

The report notes that customers rated brick-and-mortar pharmacies better in terms of cost—an area that has generally been considered an advantage for mail-order pharmacies. While mail-order pharmacies scored 7 points higher than brick-and-mortar pharmacies on cost in 2011, they scored 20 points lower this year than their brick-and-mortar competitors.

Among brick-and-mortar pharmacies, supermarket pharmacies received higher average scores (835) than did mass merchandisers (831) and chains (828). Among supermarkets, Publix ranked highest for the fourth consecutive year with a score of 872, followed by Hy-Vee (868) and Ralphs Grocery (856). Among mass merchandisers, Target earned the top score of 864, followed by Sam’s Club (861) and Costco (845).

Although chain pharmacies ranked below the other segments of brick-and-mortar pharmacy on average, Good Neighbor Pharmacy received a score of 885—the highest of any individual pharmacy in the survey. Health Mart (858) and The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy (849) received the second and third highest scores among chain pharmacies.

Among mail-order pharmacies, Kaiser Permanente ranked highest for the fifth consecutive year with a score of 868, followed by Humana RightSourceRx (845) and Walgreens Mail Service (812).

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