Jones: Walgreens has the best app in the world

Don Jones of the Scripps Translational Science Institute says Walgreens has an answer to the question: What’s the ROI of digital health? The pharmacy’s app has been downloaded about 10 million times and it makes requesting a refill as easy as pressing a button. “Walgreens has the best app in the world,” he said. “It […]

Don Jones of the Scripps Translational Science Institute says Walgreens has an answer to the question: What’s the ROI of digital health?

The pharmacy’s app has been downloaded about 10 million times and it makes requesting a refill as easy as pressing a button.

“Walgreens has the best app in the world,” he said. “It is responsible for $375 million of refills monthly, which is $5 billion of automatically generated revenue.”

Now all Walgreens needs is a link in the app to Uber to make sure people actually drive to the store and pick up their meds.

Jones had another example of how to make healthcare easier to use: Copy Amazon’s Mayday tech support service.

“Now a sales person and IT support are one click away, imagine that applied to healthcare,” he said.

The trick that no one has pulled off yet is combining all those separate healthcare help desk needs into one stream: insurance policy options, utilization questions, and help in making treatment choices. You can get help in all those areas individually, but not from one source. Maxwell Health is close, as they can sell you a policy, answer questions about how to use it and suggest a wellness strategy. But that only works if your company has hired Maxwell to take care of its health insurance solution.

Finding a trusted source would be another hurdle for a universal healthcare help desk. Can you imagine a paid search-results campaign for a health help desk or contextual marketing? Eeek.

Jones is right that healthcare needs to make it easier to use and understand the healthcare system: “We need to build services over the devices that people already have in their pockets and their homes.”

Smart design will go a long way toward accomplishing that, but it will take a lot more that a clever interface to create an Amazon for healthcare.