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Innovating pharmacy services using Connected Devices

Jun 2022

The adoption of Connected Devices (or Internet of Things (IoT) technology) is growing rapidly, with some experts projecting that there will be 27 billion connected devices by 2025. The IoT is a network of devices that ‘talk’ to each other. These might be smartphones, smart fridges, light bulbs or switches – but they are all connected to the internet and can be controlled remotely.

Whilst we usually think about IoT in terms of household items, IoT applications are much wider. Delivery lockers are another example of an IoT device. Many of us in the UK will have arranged for items ordered online to be delivered to an Amazon or other parcel locker when we know we won’t be home to accept delivery. Due to the impact of the pandemic, it is expected that the IoT-based parcel locker market value may reach $1.4 billion by 2027.

Delivery lockers for medical prescriptions

MyScript is a complete Software as a Service solution for managing pharmacy workflows, enabling many independent pharmacies to compete with large national pharmacy chains. Bit Zesty helped launch and have been supporting and extending MyScript software for over five years. 

To further improve the MyScript service, we connected the MyScript workflow to a delivery locker network. MyScript wanted to add functionality that allowed pharmacies to deliver medications to locations other than their customers’ homes. Usually, prescription pick-ups and deliveries occur during working hours, which can be inconvenient for some customers. By providing delivery services to lockers, customers can pick up their prescriptions at a time and location that is convenient to them.

How we integrated the parcel locker API with the pharmacy system

We worked closely with the parcel locker provider to understand the locker system’s potential and limitations. Once we knew the core locker capabilities, the next step was to investigate the locker API documentation and define connection points inside the MyScript application, which is built with Ruby on Rails and JavaScript.

One of the challenges was effectively mapping the existing MyScript order flow with the locker reservation system. Furthermore, careful thought had to be given to the return and cancellation processes and the expiration of orders, ensuring that the system handled all of these events correctly.

We also needed to ensure that the locker system and MyScript application communicated with each other in near real-time to make the order workflow robust.

Another consideration was ensuring that the user experience is optimal for all – the pharmacists, delivery drivers and end customers. Working closely with the client, our UX team redesigned and extended the workflows. We made sure that the locker integration works seamlessly across all user journeys, including locker allocation by the pharmacist, delivery by the driver, SMS notification to the customer (so that they know the order is ready), and return handling. 

With the addition of the locker delivery capability, pharmacies that use MyScript’s software can now provide their services regardless of pharmacy opening times or delivery times – ultimately improving their customer experience for such critical service. 

This IoT application illustrates how the technology can be used to improve existing user experience and, in turn, provide greater business value.

If you’re interested in discovering more about how connected devices and the Internet of Things can help your business, contact Matt Ford, Bit Zesty’s Technical Director.

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