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Services bring the pharmacy to the bedside

03.07.2014
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Home shopping has come a long way since the early days of e-commerce.  Whilst Amazon made hay with their delivery of reasonably straightforward products such as books and cds, it took much longer for food retailers to get into the swing of e-commerce.  Now of course, the industry has no such qualms, and there are even services offering to do your grocery shopping for specific recipes.

It’s probably safe to say that ordering drugs online hasn’t reached that stage yet.  Despite it being a huge industry, there remains a stigma attached to it, as though ordering your pharmaceutical needs online is an illicit activity.  That isn’t to say there aren’t a large number of sites looking to innovate in the field though.

Dr Ed for instance offer a range of services and deliver swiftly to patients.  It’s hard to overlook that their domain name looks a little too much like ‘dread’ for anyone’s liking.  Another attempt at delivering healthcare over the web has arrived recently via a new collaboration between Walgreens and TaskRabbit.

If you haven’t heard of TaskRabbit before, they’re a crowdsourcing network not dissimilar to sites like oDesk at one end and MechanicalTurk at the other.  Whilst those sites tend to cater for professional services however, TaskRabbit caters more for your run of the mill household chores that in days of yore we would have asked our neighbours to do for us.  That is of course before society broke down and we stopped knowing who our neighbours are.

Anyway, their partnership with Walgreens will allow flu sufferers to order all the things they need to survive their ordeal, all from the comfort of their sickbed.  The service operated in 19 cities during the flu season (identified as between Jan 7th and Feb 18th).  So you’d order your products as normal from Walgreens, and then they’d be delivered to your door via the TaskRabbit network, all within a couple of hours.

Now of course, you could very well argue that flu is hardly life threatening and therefore the prospect of popping to the shops to buy your medicine shouldn’t be beyond you, but I think the more important message here is the potential of this kind of service being expanded to offer slightly more worthwhile services.

What ideas can you come up with?

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