Healthcare providers whose businesses rely on on-time medication package deliveries to their patients appreciate the myriad obstacles that can occur at any time throughout the medication delivery journey. Unexpected weather events, compromised carrier routes, carrier-specific logistical challenges, incorrect address information, recipients not home to sign for their packages … the list goes on.

Managing patient communication and enhancing patient engagement is never more vital than notifying patients that medications won’t be delivered on time. Pharmacists know that even the slightest delay in delivering life-critical medications can interrupt patient therapy schedules, negatively impact lives, increase liability, and translate to millions of dollars in business losses.

In Enhancing Patient Engagement With Timely and Effective Digital Outreach Programs, we established the correlation between greater patient engagement and a pharmacy’s ability to leverage multiple communication channels, like email and mobile text messaging, by tailoring them to the preferences of today’s digital-savvy consumer.

Specialty Pharmacies’ ability to predict patient medication delivery obstacles before shipping and prevent package delays is critical to supporting patients’ needs with on-time medication delivery while reducing operational costs to the pharmacy.

Parcel tracking technology with predictive analytics exists today. Pharmacies can gain visibility into carrier schedules, real-time parcel tracking across the delivery journey, analytics to manage risks, and insights to ensure packages arrive on time regardless of the weather or carrier logistical delivery conditions.

Artificial Intelligence and Two Key Components of AI

Perhaps one of the most significant technological advancements that have disrupted virtually every aspect of our lives is artificial intelligence (AI).

Predictive analytics uses historical and current data to make predictions. While this concept has been around for decades, AI brings heightened speed, scale, accuracy, and diversity to applications. AI systems can access and analyze an incredible amount of data in the blink of an eye, allowing it to run laps around yesterday’s prediction tech and processes. 1

From parcel tracking and management to medication rescue and delivery, AI is helping to dramatically improve outcomes for patients around the world and the pharmacies that serve them.

The Data-Powered AI Solution to Predict On-Time Parcel Delivery

The computing and predicting power of machine learning leveraging parcel tracking data across multiple carriers can help healthcare providers look into the future and identify emerging parcel tracking and delivery data patterns. Through years of data analytics and delivery patterns across multiple carriers, specialty pharmacies can extract significant amounts of information and turn it into something meaningful — and actionable. For example, specialty pharmacies can understand which carrier service’s delivery levels are more consistent in certain states and zip codes and prevent reships and resends of patient medication before shipping is initiated. This can mean reduced product losses, reduced costly product write-offs and an improved customer experience.

The Net Effect of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Predictive Analytics

What happens when a package is delayed because of a problem earlier in the carrier route? What happens when a package is shipped to a patient’s house for the third time, and they’re still not there to sign for it? Or when the package temperature gets too warm to keep the medication safe for use? AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics can help reduce and prevent the effects of these obstacles by:

  • Deconstructing carrier routes and analyzing delivery patterns
  • Driving more on-time therapy deliveries
  • Predicting areas of distress and enabling specialty pharmacies to avoid distress zones and hold or reroute packages
  • Preventing or solving expensive medication losses and recoveries
  • Proactively keeping patients informed of package delays

What Happens When Specialty Pharmacies Exclude AI in Parcel Management?

Let’s look at what happens when specialty pharmacies decide not to use AI in their parcel management strategies.

  • Specialty pharmacies struggle to know what geographic zones or carrier routes will be affected by weather events before packages are shipped.
  • The overhead for specialty pharmacies increases exponentially as they hire more and more people to keep up with the growing number of medication packages.
  • It is more expensive to scale people than technology. For every 500 additional packages shipped per week, think about how many resources must be needed to manage the growth.
  • Specialty pharmacies miss out on efficiency and productivity gains. Manual, time-consuming processes executed by people are not efficient.

What to Look for When Choosing a Solution Provider

Choosing a solution provider to improve pharmacy operations, reduce costs and enhance patient engagement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here is a checklist to help decide which parcel tracking and data provider is best to minimize distressed packages, expensive medication delays, and costly write-offs:

◯     Do they have significant historical patient medication tracking data across multiple carriers

◯     Do they offer expertise in the healthcare industry and understand the compliance implications?

◯     Can they predict parcel distress forecasts, how many data sources do they pull from, and how much historical data can they access to provide meaningful insights?

◯     Can they provide real-time, carrier-agnostic, multi-day outlooks of deliverability risk by zip code?

◯     Do they offer a user-friendly, web-based interface that call center agents can easily access?

Specialty pharmacies across the nation are starting to leverage AI to gain assurance of more on-time patient medication deliveries shielded against human and carrier error, routing roadblocks, and weather distress throughout the parcel journey.