Several Pharmacies Offer Online Services For Patients

I’ve recently become acquainted with ePharmacies (I don’t know if that’s the official name, but that’s what I’m going to call it), such as the ones available through Walgreens.com and Target.com. It all started when I realized that my son’s acid reflux medicine was quickly disappearing (which would make life miserable for everyone involved if it was completely gone), and I would need to transfer that prescription from our pharmacy in Utah to somewhere in Colorado. While yes, I could have called the pharmacy of choice to do the transfer, I decided to see if I could. And, lo and behold, I could. Through the process, I discovered the online world of transferring and re-filling prescriptions, and I don’t think I’ll go back.

While there are probably quite a few pharmacies that offer online services, the two I will be talking about today are from Walgreens.com and Target.com. I first started out with Walgreens.com, because it said I would get a $25 gift card for transferring a prescription. The pharmacy website is very well-organized and has a lot of information to help you find what you need. Here is a screen shot of its homepage:

Here, you can refill prescriptions, use express refills, transfer or start a new prescription, as well view information about other topics such as vaccines, drug interactions, health tests, and the more. A Walgreens.com is required to use a lot of the features, but it’s free and they don’t bombard you with tons of junk email.

I really like the “Ask a Pharmacist” page. It lists the answers to common questions about health, but also has the option to talk a pharmacist, day or night…for free! Most of the time things like this cost money, so I think it’s awesome that Walgreens has that option available.

Prescriptions can be picked up in-store or shipped for free, which is nice. I wish I had known about this when I was pregnant, when I got prescriptions for a couple things but never ended up getting them filled because I felt too sick to leave the house and visit the pharmacy. The process to get prescriptions filled isn’t too complicated. After logging in, you either select transfer, refill, or new prescriptions, and enter in the required information (drug name, doctor’s name and phone number — if starting a new prescription –, patient’s name, etc.), and it adds the prescription to your cart, and from there you can specify a pick-up location or shipping address.

There is also the option to manage family prescriptions, which is what I needed to do. Unfortunately, for children under 18, they already must have a prescription at Walgreens before they can be added to a parent’s account. I don’t really like this, because I would have had to call my doctor or former pharmacist to get them to transfer it over to Walgreens so I could get a prescription number for my son, which kind of defeats the purpose of doing it online. I also had issues with the verification process required after getting an account, which was resolved only after talking with a customer service representative for awhile. Overall, I think it’s a good website for those who have already-existing prescriptions at Walgreens, particularly if it is for children.

Since I wasn’t successful with Walgreens, I checked out Target’s online pharmacy. It was a much, much simpler process — it doesn’t even require an account. You can’t fill a new prescription online, but you can refill or transfer one. It only takes a few moments, you indicate if you want it shipped or which store you want to pick it up at, and you are done. I was excited that the process took such little time, but I sure was disappointed when I got to the store only to find out the request didn’t even go through! It must have been a bug with the website, but it was very frustrating. I did find the process simpler than Walgreens, and I might use it again in the future, just maybe not for a transfer.

Target also has a “Mobile Pharmacy”, which can be found on any mobile phone by typing in target.com/RX. It’s very simple, no bells and wishes, but is perfect for someone on the go. There are just a few options — find a pharmacy, refill a prescription, transfer a prescription or sign-up for auto refills. I’d show a screenshot, but it isn’t working on my mobile phone right now. I’m glad that Target offers this option, as I mentioned in my post about Care4Today, I really thought it would be cool to be able to fill prescriptions through a mobile phone.

So these are just two of the many options for ePharmacies. Some are obviously more comprehensive, like Walgreens.com, and others less complicated, like Target.com, but it seems like there is something for everyone. It does make it easier to manage prescriptions, especially when it can be done from a mobile phone.

About the author

Katie Clark

Katie Clark

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

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