Reduce Year-round ‘Pre-Parcel Anxiety’ and
Enhance Patient Engagement — a Specialty Pharmacy 5-Point Plan

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. 

With over 3 billion packages shipped between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2020, many people likely suffered from pre-parcel anxiety this holiday season — but it isn’t confined just to the fourth quarter. Pre-parcel anxiety is a 24/7, 365-day condition.

Gone are the days when a specialty pharmacy’s role ended with the hand-over of delivery responsibilities to third parties like USPS, FedEx or UPS. Many patients will reach out to their specialty pharmacies for delivery updates, fearing that the item will arrive late, be stolen from the doorstep or simply will get lost among the millions of packages delivered each day. 

Specialty pharmacies don’t necessarily control the delivery process, but that shouldn’t mean they are powerless to help alleviate pre-parcel anxiety and improve the patient experience. 

Just how linked is parcel delivery to patient engagement and pre-parcel anxiety?

• More than 90 percent of customers say shipping speed is essential when making a purchase decision.
• Customers say a terrible shipping experience, such as late deliveries or lost packages, will negatively impact their overall shopping experience.
• Eighty-seven percent say that it makes them less likely to shop with that retailer again.

Here is a specialty pharmacy 5-point plan to alleviate pre-parcel anxiety from start to finish — even after packages leave their immediate span of control.

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

    In the past, it was challenging and time-consuming to manually check every package’s possible disruption — from origination to in-transit to destination.

    Today, there are 20+ years of detailed delivery disruption intelligence to leverage using artificial intelligence and machine learning predictive models that provide real-time, carrier-agnostic, deliverability risk-insight to prevent package distress before it happens.

    Specialty pharmacies should consider predictive analytics to prevent package delays before shipping their medication.

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

    According to Microsoft, 68 percent of consumers say their perception of a brand increases when companies send them proactive customer service notifications.

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

    Delays are inevitable. In fact, less than three percent of all packages shipped during Q1-Q3 2019 failed to arrive on their scheduled dates. That number jumped to almost 4.5 percent in December — a 163-percent increase compared to all other months in 2019.

    Use intelligent, proactive notifications tools (e.g., emails, texts and telephone calls) to keep patients informed when packages experience distress or delay, setting expectations that improve customer engagement and alleviate pre-parcel anxiety.

  3. Give patients and customer service teams tools to monitor shipments in real-time

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

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

    Providing proactive tracking tools not only eases anxieties about potentially lost, delayed or stolen products, but it 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?

  4. Offer recovery services after excessive delays or service failures 
    It’s more than a package; it’s a patient. Often medication must arrive on time because of refrigeration or other time-sensitive requirements that are life-critical 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.

  5. 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 to receive daily audit risk reports that include 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 tracking and visibility, customizable stakeholder communications, package intervention and rescue support services, and package delivery validation.

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 cost and improving operational efficiencies.

About ParcelShield®

ParcelShield® provides predictive analytics and support services that reduce risk for shippers and improve patient or end user satisfaction. Currently focused in Healthcare, ParcelShield® has artificial intelligence and machine learning predictive models that provide real-time, carrier agnostic, deliverability risk-insight to prevent package distress before it happens. And when disruption and distress are unavoidable, ParcelShield® deploys support services to track, communicate, and intercept critical packages to close the final mile, reduce loss, and deliver for the patient or end user. For more information visit