Mobile App Features Sought by Patients of Giant Eagle

This purpose of this study was to gain information about what features patients look for in a mobile application for pharmacy services provided by Giant Eagle pharmacies. Giant Eagle has 218 locations across western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland and Indiana. At the time of the study, the company had a mobile app for grocery service and a pharmacy services app in development that had not yet been launched. Services provided by Giant Eagle pharmacists include providing medication therapy management (MTM), immunizations, counseling on specialty medications and diabetes self-management.

Participant interviews for the study took place at 5 different Giant Eagle pharmacies in Pittsburgh, PA. Eligible participants included patients older than 35 years old who use and own a smartphone on a daily basis. They also had to have received a prescription from the pharmacy on a monthly basis to be eligible. Participants were recruited to the study at the pharmacy counter when they dropped off or picked up prescriptions. Before the interview about preferred features in a mobile app, demographic information was collected. A total of 24 interviews were conducted with participants at the different locations. All participants interviewed stated a need for an app to be “user friendly,” meaning an app that requires few steps to reach a certain function. There were a few different themes for an app that participants desired. The first theme being an app meant to foster an improved and convenient pharmacy experience. The second theme described features designed to help patients with self-management of their medications. The third theme involves features to increase timely and personalized access to pharmacists.

This study showed that patients desire more information from a mobile app for convenience and ease of access. This could have a positive impact on the workflow for pharmacists. An app that provides patients with comprehensive services, medication lists, and drug and disease state information could reduce the frequency of patient calls for simple requests. By reducing the number of phone calls for simple requests such as drug identification questions or checking on checking if an order is ready, pharmacists would have more time to focus on patient care services like MTM. Patients expressed that they want an app that makes it easy to communicate to a pharmacists via instant messaging, video chat, or email. This could improve patient outcomes, as it has been demonstrated before that outcomes improve when pharmacists interact directly with patients. Overall, the study showed that patient desires should be considered when creating a mobile pharmacy app. This study could be helpful for community pharmacies across the country when they design mobile applications.

McCartney E, Bacci JL, Ossman KL, et al. Mobile application features sought after by patients of a regional grocery store chain pharmacy. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2016;56(1):62-66.

2 thoughts on “Mobile App Features Sought by Patients of Giant Eagle”

  1. I think that a mobile app for pharmacy service is a great idea. Technology has revolutionized the concept of communication and defined convenience. While patients may have access to the different medication information on the web, there is always the risk that they may be misled by false information. With the development of the app, accuracy and credibility of the sources presented to the patients can be ensured. I think an app that allows easy communication between patients and pharmacists would be very helpful and make patients more comfortable asking pharmacist questions that they might feel shy or hesitant to ask at the pharmacy in person. I wonder if Giant Eagle has launched the app and am interest to know what kind of pharmacy services is provided, and how the app users feel about it.

  2. I agree that the development of this app is a great idea. However, because the study only consisted a small number of interviews, I don’t think it is good representative of all Giant Eagle customers. In the article it stated that one of the goals of creating this app is to improve the workflow, however, if the app included features where patients can contact the pharmacist, it will not improve the workflow. The pharmacist will constantly be receiving text messages, or video call requests and this will disrupt the workflow. Simple questions should be directed to the pharmacy technicians.

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