Text message reminders shorten time to prescription pick-up at independent pharmacies

JAPhA study: Patients pick up prescriptions nearly 16 hours sooner when nudged

Patients who get their prescriptions filled at independent pharmacies may benefit from text message reminders and pick up their prescriptions sooner, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association on October 10.


In the study, researchers at an independent pharmacy analyzed the prescription pick-up patterns of 42 patients who voluntarily enrolled in a text messaging reminder service. The text messaging service consisted of an initial text from the pharmacy stating that the prescription was ready to be picked up and included the pharmacy’s hours. Participants then received three more identical text messages with the word “reminder” added at the beginning of each message. The pharmacy sent the four text messages over a 5-day period after the prescriptions were ready. The researchers also sent a text message inquiring about satisfaction with the service.


After 3 months of the service, researchers analyzed 487 prescription pick-ups: 212 before the participants had enrolled in the service and 275 after. They found that patients picked up their prescriptions an average of 15.8 hours sooner. Furthermore, 79% responded positively to the text about satisfaction, while 21% did not respond to the inquiry at all.


The researchers wrote that although text message services are common in chain pharmacies, they may be underused by independent pharmacies, and that investigating how text messaging services affect cost, adherence and persistence, refills, new prescriptions, different populations, and different medication classes would help to understand the role the service could play in an independent pharmacy setting.