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How To Start Online Pharmacy in the USA – Get A Glimpse On the Future Of Medication

The United States contributes 18% of its GDP to healthcare which is certainly higher than any other country. With that being said,

The online pharmacy market in the U.S. is said to grow at a CAGR of approximately 19% from 2020-2026 expected to cross $145.8 billion.

The reason for this significant rise is the new market shift towards the direct-to-patient model. The consumer-friendliness, ease of operation, and familiarity have pushed many people towards using virtual care and wellness alternatives.

Because we know when you are aiding an illness or providing treatment, refilling prescriptions, and providing new prescriptions can lead to stress.

So, in this blog, we will share a detailed guide on how to start an online pharmacy in the USA and how we can help you achieve your vision with our healthcare IT expertise. 

What is an online pharmacy? How does it operate?

To understand the operational quotient of an online pharmacy, we need to know what exactly an online pharmacy is.

In layman’s terms, an online pharmacy offers prescriptions via the internet and allows consumers to speak with a pharmacist either online or over the phone rather than visiting them locally.

More than 50% of people in the US fail to take their prescribed medications. Online pharmacy business attempts to offer various ways to provide medical advice and access information.

We are always on the lookout to bring you the easiest solutions. When you are a pharmacist looking to start an online pharmacy in the USA, we ensure that you thoroughly understand the whole process with ease.

Online pharmacies operate on a multi-tiered process where the process begins the moment a physician diagnoses a patient with an illness and prescribes medicine.

Here is how online pharmacy works:

  • When you have your pharmacy app integrated with the Pharmacy Management System, the e-prescription is directly uploaded to your PMS.
  • That is when you come into the scenario. Once the prescription is uploaded, it will be reviewed by the pharmacy. Moving forward will be cross-verification of the prescription with the patient’s history.
  • This is the part where efficient integration plays an important role. To successfully execute this part, your online pharmacy platform requires access to the patient’s medical data.
  • Once the prescription gets authenticated, the procurement of drugs comes into action. PMS plays an important role here. Through this system integration, your inventory and stocks remain updated, and the use of AI and ML in PMS assists in drug monitoring.
  • The final step left is the medicine and pharmacists license verification and final transportation.
  • The whole process might seem lengthy, but with the help of the web/app platform, it gets executed in minutes.

how online pharmacy works?

Ask yourself the right question. Why should you start online pharmacy?

In recent years, online pharmacy has seen a significant rise. As I said earlier, it is a multi-billion dollar industry set to grow to 145.8 billion US dollars by 2026.

The medication segment in the US healthcare accounted for almost 76% of the pharmacy market shares.

Due to the substantial increase in the ease of use and convenience of online pharmacy platforms, people are substantially opting to acquire medicine and long-term medicine refills with them.

“In the dire times of the pandemic, an online pharmacy delivery app is the best way to help consumers and maintain social distance while supplying them with prescription medications.”

Reasons to start online pharmacy:

  • The customer is simply asked to fill out contact info, a prescription from a doctor, any insurance information, and finally pay after the procedure. This user-friendly process can draw more medication-specific clients. Developing the finest online buying system for pharmaceuticals.
  • It is convenient for customers to manage their medication when the online pharmacy manages a well-organized delivery system with timely delivery. Delivery route optimization, order fulfillment, and real-time tracking give you an edge when it comes to serving customers efficiently. Hence, growth in your online pharmacy business.
  • Your online pharmacy can provide access to various types of medicines to a big chunk of the population. And when consumers experience the ease of access, as they don’t have to go from shop to shop in search of a particular medication, out-of-stock medication is updated, purchasing prescription meds from their couches. And get information about medications, substitutes, pharmacist availability 24×7, and review by clinical experts. A perfect marketplace for you is automatically created.
  • For you as an online pharmacy, it is easy to manage and consolidate orders and monitor the number of orders, cancellations, sales reports, and analyze trends that naturally help your business grow.

📌 You should read this – Best online pharmacies of North America

Benefits of starting an online pharmacy services app

1. Increase in sales

“The lesser the hurdles, the smoother the process.”

For any business organization, it is the golden rule for sales.

You can reach your customers faster with the shortest possible path by building a custom pharmacy app.

Customers now prefer getting medications online to visiting offline stores.

Hence, the reasons for building online pharmacy services providing app might be:

  • e-prescriptions functionality
  • Tracking delivery
  • Patient verification (at delivery)
  • Online payments
  • Scheduled medication delivery
  • Convenient tools for searching prescribed medications

2. Developing & Leveraging your customer base

Online pharmacy services not only boost sales but also collects vital patient data.

This data can be a helpful resource for you to market your online pharmacy.

It is vital to ensure that your app complies with the healthcare regulations like HIPAA and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act).

If you plan on building your pharmacy app, it should cover:

  • Customer relationship management (client accounts as well)
  • Data collection agreement
  • Protected data storage
  • Cloud-based solutions for data transmitting and hosting customer databases
  • Analytical platforms connection for deeper market analysis
  • Push notifications to deliver marketing offers

3. Internal processes systemization

A pharmaceutical business or an online pharmacy service-providing platform needs to achieve orchestration and mutual integration of software products for exchanging and synchronizing data.

Custom pharmacy app development can assist you in:

  • Ensuring smooth running and coordination
  • Getting information and updates according to healthcare interoperability requirements
  • Saving money and time with acceleration and optimization processes

Starting an online pharmacy? Here’s the list of resources you need

You have your business idea and mindset on starting an online pharmacy app. There is more to starting this business than just registering it with the state compliance for operations.

Apart from legal expenses, advertising resources, wholesale vendors, and a well-connected network of healthcare IT, the most important is healthcare-specific IT solutions.

Designing an online pharmacy app is a work of art, technical consultation, and marketplace access workup.

  • As an online pharmacy owner in the US, you should have liability insurance. In the case of a liability claim, the average cost of a pharmaceutical claim is around $14,000, which will eventually increase.
  • You must obtain licenses for selling whole-scale prescription drugs, seek FDA approval, and establish a legal business entity as an LLC or proprietorship. All these will amount to a legal expense for hiring a lawyer.
  • As you have the app, you should create a user base now. Resourceful Advertising and marketing will be of utmost importance. At the same time, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program(PDMP) database will help you create medication-specific user bases when integrated with PMS.
  • Start delivering with your app. You need an efficient delivery management system to be integrated with your pharmacy application for driver optimization, order tracking, and real-time update.
  • You need to have compliance with HIPAA, HITECH act, ADA compliance, and Integrations with EHR/EMRs/PMS which require healthcare-specific companies like SyS Creations.

Explore how we saved $200,000 for – Pharmacy benefit management software

Features your online pharmacy app should have

There are generally two separate modules in the online pharmacy app – one is for users and another is for pharmacists.

pharmacy app features

For Users – 

1. ePrescription

All the user needs to do is submit their prescription, and the AI customizes all the medication to their cart, places an order, and keeps track of refills based on the past purchase history.

📌 You must also explore our – ePrescription software development

2. Medication Search

Having filters that are comprehensive for a more refined search. So people always get what they look for. Connecting and integrating the app with PDMP and PMS to get quick and accurate drug information.

3. Support Assistance

You can contact a member of the support team. If you have any queries or have difficulties using the app. Support will be available 24×7.

4. Telehealth

With this feature, doctors can now transmit or upload prescriptions straight to the app via teleconsultation and have clinical data of patients with EHR/EMR integration.

5. Patient Portal

This will include prescription transfer requests, clinical history, support, medication and refill reminders, live tracking, order history, and payment options.

For Pharmacists –

1. Pharma-Management

This feature caters to your monitoring, assessing, planning, collecting, and following-up needs. Notifying the pharmacists in your alliance to verify the medications while informing you of the safe and effective dispensation of drugs.

2. Inventory & Shipping Management

Operating and maintaining in-house delivery vehicles and personnel effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, monitoring the availability of stock of commodities that is automatically updated with artificial intelligence and RPA would be just a click away.

📌 You must also explore our – Pharmacy inventory management software

3. Managing Orders

You will have absolute access to all the orders, tracking information, and other crucial details such as specific instructions and remarks made by customers while placing orders.

4. Customer Service

All your customer inquiries will be stored in a centralized database, with information about the query’s progress and the customer executive attending to it.

5. Analytics and Compliance

Keep track of your compliance to make sure it is up to date. And, with analytics assistance, obtaining crucial consumer information that aids you in identifying the most desired product, age, location, and purchasing behavior. Thus, helping you in making strategic business judgments.

Understanding what, why, and how of the pharmacy management system and its integration with the online pharmacy mobile app

Pharmacies have always been more than just places for you to get prescriptions. Experiencing a way of change in the healthcare industry, pharmacies have stayed no exception.

A pharmacy management system is a software-based system that helps automate the pharmacy workflow thereby, reducing unnecessary human efforts.

A PMS can help improve pharmacists’ efficiency, improve patient health outcomes, and prevent medication fraud by cross-verifying all the prescriptions with Prescription Drug Monitoring Database (PDMP).

Apart from providing basic features to a pharmacy, there are many integrations that a PMS can do that aid in absolute add-on benefits.

If you can’t conduct your deliveries or the order placement is very well outside your delivery radius, integrating with FedEx or DHL will let you manage orders, and issue delivery alerts, and fulfillment procedures.

Micro-merchant systems such as ScriptAbility plug from PrimeRx PMS providers can generate labels with Braille, large prints, Multilingual labels, and Controlled Substance Safety.

So, if your pharmacy floor is crowded and the phone won’t stop ringing, HIPAA-compliant Interactive Voice Response Systems come to your rescue. Companies like Omnicell collaborate with PMS.

In the future, if you want to decide which company to go for, we will provide you with the top PMS service providers in the US.

Getting integrated into the pharmacy management system results in a better clinical and patient-facing experience from start to finish.

Compliance – keep your online pharmacy business regulated

The US healthcare industry is one of the most regulated healthcare systems in the world. So, if you plan to open an online pharmacy business, you must adhere to compliance standards.

  • Establishing guidelines for preserving the privacy of medical information kept and exchanged electronically for online pharmacy apps by applying the HITECH act and HIPAA compliance.
  • Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all your tech, applications, and websites to be accessible to people with disabilities, especially in healthcare.

Online pharmacy + telemedicine + healthcare eCommerce = Healthcare super app

In the above section, we discussed the integration of online pharmacy that led to this point.

What if patients can text or chat with expert pharmacists regarding their medication plan, get their physician to provide them with an ePrescription directly to their pharmacy when consulting through telemedicine, or get medication insurance on the same online pharmacy app platform?

We know, you might be thinking, have we gone bonkers or what. But visualize it for a minute and think, if you made this possible, then the level of customer peace of mind will be on another level.

One such example is Capsule, a digital pharmacy startup based in New York founded in 2015 and is valued at $1+ billion. This healthcare app is ahead of time and provides telemedicine from its online pharmacy platform.

capsule app

How much money can you make with an online pharmacy?

Let us just provide you with an overview. Every year, online pharmacies make a significant portion of somewhere around $370 billion a year on prescription drugs.

These numbers will continue to rise due to standard inflation and the aging population.

So, let’s say your pharmacy sells 1,000 prescriptions a month at $300 apiece. And your operational cost is $175,000. You can easily make $125,000 in profits monthly.

The cherry on the cake would be introducing premium subscription services as you grow bigger. It can have a personalized care plan or free 3 hours of monthly clinical consultation.

How can you succeed with SyS Creations? We guide you on the roadway to Triumph

We are healthcare-focused health tech, compliance, and integration specialists. We catered to only healthcare industry solutions for the past 8+ years.

We aim to provide a one-stop shop to you for all your health tech, business, and compliance needs. It reduces the hassle of coordinating in multiple directions.

The expert team of designers, app developers, BDAs, compliance specialists, and strategists will assist you with documentation, workflows, UI/UX designing, developing desired code, running QA and compliance audits, to finally launching the app. Moreover, providing full after-launch support.

With our 6D process of execution

  • Discovery
  • Discussion
  • Design
  • Development
  • Demo & QA
  • Delivery.

Because we value health and develop technology to make it better!

📌 Check out our guide on – Cost to build the best pharmacy app