On Tuesday, Amazon made waves when it announced its much-anticipated pharmacy service. But it’s not the only one with a stake in online pharmacy. Other, more traditional avenues of accessing healthcare are also building out their digital footprint.
HealthPartners, a Minnesota-based nonprofit health system, has been building out its telehealth platform for the past several years, giving patients access to 24/7 online visits for routine health needs such as ear infections, allergies or birth control. Its virtual clinic, Virtuwell, currently operates in 13 states
Now, it’s adding same-day prescription delivery to its list of services through a partnership with Capsule. The goal is to provide a seamless experience where patients can get diagnoses, treatment plans and their medication all within the same day at home.
“When sickness finds you, most of us don’t want to go anywhere,” said Kevin Palattao, HealthPartners SVP of Digital Care Delivery who founded Virtuwell. “For us, this is an extension of that service model and completing that experience. … What we found with Capsule, our mission and values just aligned perfectly.”
Capsule, which is based in New York, hires couriers to deliver medications by bike or by car. It also provides reporting on medication adherence. Last year, it raised $200 million to expand its services to other states.
Capsule CEO Eric Kinariwala wrote in an email that medications are stored in tamper-proof packaging and go directly from the pharmacy to patients’ homes.
They will not be transporting controlled substances. Instead, the partnership will focus on antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and over-the-counter medications, consistent with the types of visits Virtuwell sees.
Palattao added that patients’ copayments should be the same, and that Capsule’s prescription drugs were competitively priced.
Currently, the partnership with HealthPartners is for Minnesota, New York and Connecticut. But in the future, they hope to expand it to other states, such as California, Arizona and Colorado.
“We continue to see tremendous demand from partners across the entire healthcare landscape looking to deliver better consumer experiences and drive higher medication adherence, and look forward to building on our previous partnerships with Oscar, hims & hers, and now HealthPartners and Virtuwell,” Kinariwala wrote.
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