HIPAA eCommerce

10 Advantages of an E-Pharmacy Business Model: Pharmacy eCommerce in 2024

Published   |  5 min read

With the rise of technology and the internet, e-pharmacies have become increasingly popular. Because of the convenience associated with e-pharmacies, many customers have come to expect a business of any size to provide them with a mail-order option.

In recent years, more and more licensed pharmacists have been transitioning to the digital space due to advancements in internet technology and security. Doing so has created another income stream, and many businesses are now built on using an e-prescribing system.

To understand what this type of eCommerce is and how it works, let's dive into the many benefits for both the business and its customers.

Many community pharmacy owners help with disease management.
Key Takeaways
  • An online pharmacy is a business model which provides consumers with prescription and non-prescription drugs at their doorstep, all ordered through a website or mobile application.
  • Getting perpetual business from maintenance medications offers perpetual income, especially when dealing with patients who have prescription drug plans.
  • Once customers discover the advantages of mail-order medicines, few of them see any need to change.
E-prescribing health information technology beats e-Commerce giants with online pharmacies

What Is an E-Pharmacy?

The presence of the e-pharmacy business model is revolutionizing the way prescription medications are purchased and handled. By simply ordering their medicines online—or having their doctors send an electronic prescription—customers can have their orders delivered right to them with ease, skipping lines altogether. It can also help with preventing medication errors, thereby increasing patient safety.

What began as an alternative method for obtaining medication has grown rapidly in popularity as more patients recognize its convenience, effectively supplanting the reliance on traditional brick-and-mortar pharmacies.

How Does an Online Pharmacy Work?

An electronic pharmacy works the same way as traditional retail pharmacies, with one key difference: orders are placed and completed online. The consumer shops for and orders their prescription or non-prescription drugs from a website and pays for them using an accepted form of payment.

Once the order has been processed, the pharmacy team—which includes a licensed pharmacist responsible for proper medication dispensing and preparation—packages and dispatches the drug(s), either through mail or courier services.

Customers don't have to call in a prescription, drive or walk to a drug store, or wait in line (or be surrounded by sick people waiting in line). Pharmacy eCommerce must follow all of the government and consumer demands of a physical pharmacy.

Adopting consumer technology helps pharmacy e-Commerce and online pharmacies

Advantages of an E-Pharmacy for Online Pharmacies

There are two primary businesses that are interested in accepting electronic prescriptions and providing mail-order services for:

  • a brick-and-mortar pharmacy that is expanding its business by accepting and delivering electronically prescribed medicines.
  • a newly launched business whose primary business model works exclusively online.

Here are some of the advantages of offering mail-order prescriptions.

Recurring Income

The subscription model is becoming more common in every industry, whether it's paying $10 a month for an app or Amazon suggesting you subscribe to dog food, and it's no different in the pharmaceutical industry. The subscription model is a great way to entice customers with lower prices. But more than anything, it's about getting someone to pay for something again and again without having to think about it.

Filling digital prescriptions for maintenance medications on a pharmayc site is an excellent way to ensure a perpetual income for an online pharmacy. Once you have a customer experience the benefits of mail-order prescriptions, it's unlikely they'll move the prescription to another vendor.

Consolidating Prescriptions

Patients often end up with their medications in multiple locations, whether it's because they changed addresses or a newer pharmacy opened closer to them the next time they need prescription medicine.

Offering the many advantages of an online pharmacy can be an excellent time for them to bring all of their prescriptions to one store...yours.

Reduced Overhead

One of the most obvious advantages of digital pharmacy services for pharmacists is their cost-effectiveness. By switching to a digital platform pharmacy site, overhead costs like rent and utilities are greatly reduced. Due to automation, e-pharmacies can serve a larger audience faster and with fewer employees.

Reduced Customer Interactions

This might sound callous at first, but it makes a lot of sense. Much of a pharmacist's time—or the time of those assisting pharmacists—is spent with patient/customer interactions that don't really need to happen.

Yes, a customer should be able to interact with a licensed pharmacist and ask questions about their medication, but when the bulk of a pharmacist's time is spent verifying date of birth, manually entering prescription card information, and talking with the patient about why their medicine is so expensive—well, the advantages become obvious.

Remote patient monitoring can provide virtual patient care at online pharmacies.

Advantages of an E-Pharmacy for the Customer

Patients often realize quite a few benefits from getting their prescriptions by mail-order. Once they do, they want to stick with getting their medicines online.

Time-Savings

With an online eCommerce pharmacy, ordering prescription medication is a breeze. From those with busy schedules to the elderly or disabled, anyone can take advantage of this convenient system.

Money Savings

Shopping for medication online isn't just convenient; it could also save customers money. According to studies, buying drugs through the internet can lead to an incredible one-third reduction in overall costs.

Privacy

The online pharmacy model offers unparalleled levels of privacy and confidentiality. No matter your age, gender identity, relationship status, or health issue, it's a convenient process that eliminates any anxiety associated with speaking directly face-to-face when ordering or picking up prescriptions.

Reduced Medication Errors

Anyone working in a retail pharmacy location is going to feel rushed, especially when there's a line of customers. Healthcare professionals can get just as flustered as anyone with they feel they have to move faster than usual, which could reduce patient safety as medication errors are introduced.

Moving to a more relaxed online method is simply one more way of preventing adverse drug events and reducing harmful interactions with controlled substances.

Prescription Verification

Shopping for medication online has become easier with the rise of e-pharmacies, yet safety is paramount. All medicines require a prescription from a personal doctor or completion of an extensive health questionnaire approved by an experienced physician before being delivered to the customer safely and securely. Health insurance information is also run quickly and easily.

Ease of Additional Information

If the patient ever needs to know more about the drugs they are taking, e-pharmacies are a great source of reliable and current information. They provide not only helpful links to medical resources from universities and government agencies, but the technology collects health data and shares useful information regarding medicines and illnesses.

Is Taking Electronic Prescriptions Worth It?

As you can see, there are quite a few advantages of offering medications via pharmacy websites. The benefits that providers and patients see have made it a very lucrative business model.

It Requires Effort

We won't say that running e-prescribing software and a mail-order business is going to be easy, but in most cases, it is worth it. Once you differentiate yourself from the far-too-common scam sites offering "Canadian" pills and have a steady stream of customers, it's easy to see why the steady stream of income is so enticing.

E-Pharmacy Platforms Make It Much Easier

Whether you're interested in expanding a physical store into the digital space with e-prescribing online stores, starting a new business, or replacing an older prescription website, be sure to find a pharmacy platform that meets the needs of your business plan and can do what your customers require. A platform can also help you maintain HIPAA pharmacy rules.

 

The Future of Prescription Drugs

If you're interested in adding e-prescribing functionality to your business or want to start a prescription medication distribution business from scratch, Clarity would like to talk with you about it.

We offer a complimentary discovery process, where we'll bring experts to the table to create a plan and help you find out exactly how to create a HIPAA-compliant website and app for your customers to use. You can use this plan with us or take it to another developer; we just want to see you succeed. Get in touch today to get the process started!

 

Work with HIPAA Development Experts

Wondering how to start online pharmacy services? Click below for your free, no-pressure demo with our experts. There's no risk, so why not give it a try?

Healthcare development for community pharmacies.

FAQ

 

An e-pharmacy offers numerous advantages for pharmacists and customers alike. Its cost-effectiveness reduces overhead costs, like rent and utilities, while automation allows it to serve more people faster with fewer employees.

It also makes reordering medications easier since customers' medical profiles are securely stored online, allowing pharmacies to track which prescriptions need to be refilled and when. Such an option is more convenient as customers don't have to leave their homes in order to pick up their medications. Patient education materials can also be delivered with the prescription.

An online e-Commerce pharmacy also increases security with features like authentication and encryption, which protect customers’ data and personal information. It can make online sales of medical devices that offer remote patient monitoring.

It also provides a greater level of convenience since customers can access their medications as soon as they are released without having to go through long lines or wait for delivery times.

 

Security risks can arise from storing sensitive patient information online and technology glitches can occur, which lead to delays in the processing of prescriptions. HIPAA compliance for websites isn't always easy.

There may also be difficulty accessing patient medical histories within the same geographic area or potential fraud from unverified or incorrect orders. Finally, a lack of interoperability between different e-prescribing systems and other patient health information databases can limit their utility.

 

The benefits of online pharmacies include:

  • Increased accessibility and convenience for patients to get their medications.
  • The ability to compare prices from multiple vendors (other online pharmacies) in order to find the best deal.
  • Access to prescription information, including dosage instructions and warnings about drug interactions.
  • A safe, secure, and private ordering process, with less risk of fraudulent orders.
  • An online pharmacy with a local, physical location may offer same-day delivery.
  • Prompt customer service and support, with 24/7 access to a licensed pharmacist via email or phone to ensure patient health.
 

The advantages and disadvantages of online prescription from an online pharmacy include:

  • Advantages: Increased convenience, allowing patients to get their medications quickly; saving time and money by reducing the medication cost; the ability to research medical conditions and drug interactions for more informed decision-making; access to lower prices due to competition among vendors; increased patient safety.
  • Disadvantages: Risk of fraudulent orders; potential for incorrect dosages or outdated prescriptions; some online pharmacies may not follow established safety protocols; protection of medical records adds another layer of security to the HIPAA software compliance checklist.
 

Yes, most do accept government prescription drug plans. However, it is important to check with the specific pharmacy before ordering prescribed medications to ensure that the plan is accepted.

Certain medications, such as controlled substances, may only be available through a retail pharmacy and not an online option. In such cases, customers can still receive medication by mail or delivery from their local retail pharmacy if allowed under the terms of their drug plan.

 

To start an online pharmacy business, begin by conducting thorough market research to identify target demographics and regulatory requirements. Develop a detailed business plan outlining your niche, products, pricing strategy, and marketing approach. Ensure compliance with local and international pharmaceutical regulations, obtain the necessary pharmacy license, and establish a secure payment gateway to guarantee customer trust in your pharmaceutical business.

Next, select a reliable online pharmacy platform that facilitates easy navigation and incorporates robust security features to protect sensitive customer information. Create an intuitive website with clear product descriptions, images, and an efficient checkout process. Partner with reputable suppliers and manufacturers to ensure a steady and quality supply chain for pharmaceutical products.

Don't forget to implement stringent data protection measures and adhere to healthcare privacy laws to safeguard customer information. Develop a robust customer support system to address inquiries, concerns, and provide assistance. Employ digital marketing strategies such as SEO, social media, and email campaigns to enhance online visibility and attract potential customers.

Regularly update the online pharmacy's inventory, stay informed about industry trends, and consider offering additional services like telemedicine consultations. Cultivate a professional image for your online drug store, prioritize customer safety, and foster trust through transparent communication. Collaborate with healthcare professionals for endorsements and recommendations, contributing to the credibility and success of your online pharmacy business.

 

Yes, generally, anyone can use an online pharmacy, but there are important considerations.

Online pharmacies offer convenience and accessibility, especially for those with mobility issues, busy schedules, or living in remote areas. However, it's crucial to ensure the online pharmacy is legitimate, licensed, and operates under legal regulations.

Always consult a healthcare professional before purchasing prescription medications online, as they can provide proper guidance on dosage, potential interactions, and side effects in case the pharmacy services online don't provide enough information.

Also, be cautious of suspiciously low prices or online stores that do not require a prescription for prescription-only medications, as these could indicate an illegitimate operation. Those with complex medical conditions or requiring specialized medications should exercise extra caution and consult their healthcare provider.

Overall, while online pharmacies offer convenience, safety should always be the top priority.

 

Yes, an online pharmacy market can be a profitable e-Commerce business due to several factors. Here are some ways that pharmacy e-Commerce can lead to growth.

First, an e-pharmacy market can tap into a wide customer base, allowing for greater reach and accessibility. Online platforms can operate 24/7, providing convenience to consumers.

Lower operational costs compared to brick-and-mortar pharmacies can lead to higher profit margins. Online pharmacies can leverage data analytics to optimize inventory management and pricing strategies.

Also, partnerships with healthcare providers or insurance companies can enhance credibility and attract more customers to online pharmacies. However, profitability may also depend on factors like competition as consumers compare pharmacies, digital pharmacy regulations, customer trust, and maintaining a reliable supply chain.

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Author
 
Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.