We’ve all experienced the impatience and eagerness of waiting for a package from USPS, UPS, or FedEx to arrive. It’s hard to imagine, but market research shows that around the country, more than 1.7 million packages are stolen or go missing every day. 

It’s one thing to be concerned that a holiday gift arrives on time, but it’s entirely different when it involves life-critical medications. 

As news cycles remind the world of carrier on-time delivery pressures this holiday season, “pre-parcel anxiety” is expected to rise among consumers. The Urban Dictionary defines pre-parcel anxiety as the nervous impatience one experiences when waiting for a package to be delivered. It is often accompanied by frequent glances at the front door for signs of the courier driver after hearing any audible or visual queues of their presence.

Pre-Parcel Anxiety Is Stressful for Patients and Pharmacies 

  • More than 90 percent of customers say shipping speed is essential when purchasing.
  • A terrible shipping experience, such as late deliveries or lost packages, will negatively impact the patient’s overall shopping experience and healthcare outcome.
  • Eighty-seven percent say it makes them less likely to shop with that retailer or healthcare provider again.

Costly call center operations for healthcare providers during the holiday season:

  • The holiday season can also be hectic for call centers and patient support. During the holidays, interactions are more important than ever. 

Leverage Technology to Ease Pre-Parcel Anxiety for Patients

Here is a 5-point plan to alleviate pre-parcel anxiety from start to finish.

  • Before shipping, predict delivery times and carrier-specific delays. 

It can be challenging and time-consuming to manually check every package’s possible disruption — from origination to in-transit to destination, the patient’s front door.

Today, artificial intelligence and machine learning predictive models can use 20+ years of detailed medication delivery data and disruption intelligence to provide real-time, carrier-agnostic, deliverability-risk insight that prevents package distress before it happens.

Specialty pharmacies should consider predictive analytics to prevent package delays before shipping their medication. This will save a significant amount of time, money and anxiety.

  • After dispensing, engage patients throughout the package’s journey. 

Streamlined communications and proactive notifications throughout the package delivery life cycle increase patient confidence and reduce patient stress.

Use intelligent, proactive notification tools (e.g., emails, texts and telephone calls) to keep patients informed throughout the delivery journey and when packages experience distress or delay. Setting proper expectations will improve customer engagement and alleviate pre-parcel anxiety.

  • Give patients and customer service teams the tools to monitor real-time package shipments.

According to a recent UPS study, 96 percent of shoppers actively track their purchases as they await their arrival.

Instead of relying on carriers, give patients real-time communication that streamlines UPS, FedEx, and USPS tracking information and delivers comprehensive, intuitive, actionable information.

Providing proactive tracking tools not only eases anxieties about potentially lost, delayed or stolen products but can also be another opportunity to strengthen your brand with customers.

Ultimately, in patients’ eyes, it’s the pharmacy’s responsibility to deliver medication on time and as expected. Why leave it to chance?

  • Offer recovery services after excessive delays or service failures. 

It’s more than a package; it’s a patient. Medication must arrive on time when it needs refrigeration or other time-sensitive, life-critical requirements for patient wellbeing. In situations like these, “your package is stranded” is not an option. That’s when a “last-mile” courier service is invaluable.

When choosing a courier, make sure they employ HIPAA-compliant, medically certified and professional agents available around the clock. Remember: couriers are an extension of your brand in these situations.

  • Document every order to successful delivery. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of patient medication home deliveries.

With increasing payer audit activities, challenges in the logistics industry, and rising drug prices, having the ability to produce proof of delivery and any necessary documentation for prescription order reimbursement is critical.

Avoid costly write-offs by standardizing your proof-of-delivery documentation and information required by payers, including Medicare and Medicaid. Ask for daily audit risk reports, including a summary of packages that meet or fail proof-of-delivery requirements. Doing so gives pharmacies adequate time to obtain proof of delivery from patients long before an audit.

Harness the powers of predictive technology, real-time parcel monitoring and increased visibility across the parcel delivery journey. Manage personalized patient-centric communications, identify packages at risk, and provide the ability to intervene or rescue a package.

In doing so, specialty pharmacies can alleviate pre-parcel anxiety and grow customer satisfaction — from the loading dock to the patient’s doorstep — while reducing costs and improving operational efficiencies.