Text messaging is an ubiquitous form of communication in modern society. As such, more and more businesses are finding innovative ways to take advantage of this technology. Walgreens is the latest company to embrace this, with its new text messaging prescription refill program.

Called Refill Reminder Text Alerts, the new service delivers a specific text message to any mobile phone that accepts text messages, notifying patients when an existing prescription is due for refill. This goes beyond a mere notification, as the prescription orders can then be completed with a simple “refill” reply. And it’s free to users.

“We’ve driven strong adoption and customer engagement through our mobile applications, and these mobile pharmacy features are also great tools for helping people manage their health,” said Sona Chawla, Walgreens president of e-commerce. “This is another way we’re extending the access to Walgreens pharmacy to patients on the go and helping them stay well.”

Early indications are promising, as more than 2 million Walgreen subscribers currently are signed up for its Prescription Ready Text Alerts–which simply notify customers when a prescription order is ready for pickup.

The new Refill Reminder Text Alerts program aims to increase patient health by increasing the rate of prescription refills. The article mentions that for every 100 new prescriptions, only 15-20 percent are refilled as prescribed.

“Medication non-adherence is one of the biggest hurdles in treating illness today, responsible for more than $100 billion each year in avoidable hospitalizations3,” said Cheryl Pegus, Walgreens chief medical officer. “Tools and personalized services that can help patients remain compliant with their prescription regimens can be effective in lowering health care costs and improving patient care.”

This shift to mobile in medication management is well under way. Walgreens mobile applications, which recently received Webby Awards in the people’s voice categories of Best Integrated Mobile Experience and Best Shopping from a Mobile Device, currently account for 25 percent of the company’s online prescription refills.

Source: Walgreens