In another industry first for pharmacy customers, Walgreens today launched a new online "Find Your Pharmacist" tool that allows customers to select a pharmacist by matching their health care needs with the areas of expertise, specialties, languages and clinical backgrounds of Walgreens pharmacists. As some of the most accessible and trusted health care professionals in thousands of communities nationwide, Walgreens pharmacists are uniquely positioned to provide a range of services beyond medication dispensing and counseling. Many of these are highlighted within search feature profiles and include medication adherence, immunizations, diabetes management, children's health, wellness education, medication side effects, HIV care and more.
While location historically has been a leading factor for selecting a pharmacy or pharmacist for prescription needs, new research by Walgreens shows clinical training and areas of expertise are also among respondents' main reasons for selecting a pharmacy or pharmacist. In fact, nearly 70 percent of respondents would consider a different location or pharmacist if the pharmacist was trained in specific areas that suit their needs.
"This is another way we are advancing community pharmacy by helping people connect on a more meaningful level with Walgreens pharmacists in their neighborhood, whether that is speaking their native language or providing clinical information specific to their health condition," said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. "The pharmacist-patient relationship can be very instrumental in helping to improve health outcomes because patients often are talking with their pharmacist more often than their primary care physician. Establishing a personal relationship with your pharmacist can help improve health outcomes by helping customers feel comfortable and confident in working with their pharmacist for information, advice and support."
To find a pharmacist or learn more about pharmacists at each of the more than 7,800 Walgreens pharmacies, the search feature is available by visiting walgreens.com/findyourpharmacist or through the Walgreens.com store locator. The search tool also provides a map and the opportunity to meet the store pharmacy team. Mobile users can also access the tool on-the-go through any web-enabled mobile device.
According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report focused on health information, of the 74 percent of adults surveyed who use the Internet, health topics and doctors or other health professionals ranked among the top three information topics searched for online(1).
The Walgreens survey also suggests the following among pharmacy customer respondents:
-- Nearly one third would like to have the ability to search for a pharmacist based on their expertise
-- Of those who know their pharmacist by name, nearly 75 percent consider their pharmacist a critical or very important member of their health care team
Crawford said, "We are focused on strengthening the relationship between our pharmacists and patients to provide the care and expert advice they deserve. By going above and beyond, we can help people live well, stay well and get well with the expanded products and services we offer."
Walgreens Online and Mobile Pharmacy Tools
"Find Your Pharmacist" search is Walgreens latest innovation developed to help patients better manage their health and stay well. Walgreens pharmacy staff is also available 24/7 online for one-on-one live chats to answer patient questions and concerns through the Walgreens website at www.walgreens.com/pharmacychat . In addition, Walgreens last month introduced new mobile pharmacy tools including Pill Reminder and Transfer by Scan to help smartphone users better manage prescription needs and help promote greater medication adherence. Refill by Scan, a Walgreens mobile technology that was an industry first, allows pharmacy customers to order prescription refills simply by scanning a barcode. Today, nearly 40 percent of Walgreens online refills currently come through mobile scanning.
The Walgreens survey was fielded April 6-10, 2012 and involved a sample of 1,000 respondents. Data was collected through random sampling of Ipsos Online Omnibus' 500,000+ member online panel. The Ipsos online panel is recruited and maintained and utilize double and triple opt-in screening processes to ensure maximum return from an engaged and representative audience. The panel is updated regularly and non-responders are removed. Both the survey invitation list and the returned data are weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the U.S. adult population.
(1) Fox, Susannah, The Social Life of Health Information, 2011, Pew Internet & American Life Project, May 12, 2011, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Social-Life-of-Health-Info/Summary-of-Findings.aspx, accessed on April 12, 2012.