I saw this image plastered on the side of Walgreens as I was driving by the other day, further showing how Walgreens is diving into the mobile health market.  Their app, Walgreens Mobile, is available on the iPhone, Android, and Palm platforms.

From a health care side, their app offers utility by allowing patients to fill prescriptions via the app, and giving them reminders on when their prescriptions need to be filled.

Although this app is good, I’m surprised Walgreens didn’t go a step further to make this app a stand out.  The simplest feature they could have added is a way for physicians to fill prescriptions for patients through their phone.

Patients often ask their doctor to “call in” a prescription so it will be ready on their way home – why not build this functionality into the app itself?  Instead of having to call the pharmacy between patients, a healthcare provider could pull up the app while in the patients room, and get it done right there.

The other feature they could have added, albeit, a great deal more technical, would have been a way to actually remind patients when to take their meds with either text messages or notifications.

There is good data, especially in the Peds population, that shows texting increases medicine compliance, and there are studies currently underway to measure this in a more broad population.  All health care providers know taking meds on time, or taking them at all is is a huge problem in the patient population.  For example, non-compliance with BP medications is the number one reason for hypertensive emergencies in the ED.

For Walgreens, a corporation, their number one priority is to it’s shareholders, not the general health of the community at large.  That’s why having these additions makes sense – not only would they help improve overall health, but more patients being compliant equals more patients buying medications.  It’s a win win situation, and I would think Walgreens would be at the forefront of getting this done – I’m sure their shareholders do.

Link: Walgreens Mobile