Making Health Care More Convenient with Amanda Epp, CEO of ScriptDrop
June 24, 2021 – By Samantha Bailey
The journey a patient makes in the health care system can be a long one – from getting an appointment, to waiting to see the physician, to finally getting a prescription for treatment. Any roadblock on that journey, often something simple such as picking up a prescription, can have devastating consequences.
Value-based care is all about focusing on the patient – providing them the best quality care for the least amount of cost. It is also about treating the patient more as a consumer and giving them the delightful experience that they get from their other service and retail providers. Oftentimes, what the patient consumer is looking for is convenience.
Convenient is certainly not a word one typically associates with health care. But that’s changing. Telehealth has finally gained acceptance, a silver lining from the pandemic, wearables are connecting to doctors’ offices, and increasingly medical networks have a usable patient app. It may not be perfect yet, but it’s heading in the right direction.
In today’s podcast, 7investing Lead Advisor Dana Abramovitz discusses how companies are making health care more convenient to patients with Amanda Epp, Co-founder and CEO of ScriptDrop. ScriptDrop focuses on the last leg of the patient journey, getting their prescription.
Publicly-traded companies mentioned in this podcast include: Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD), Albertson’s (NYSE: ACI), CVS (NSYE: CVS), Walgreens (NASDAQ: WBA), and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). 7investing’s advisors may have positions in the companies mentioned.
00:00 – An Introduction to ScriptDrop
04:42 – The Symbiotic Relationship between ScriptDrop and their Partners
08:44 – Women in Leadership Roles
11:06 – How ScriptDrop Fits with the Larger Telehealth World
17:19 – Follow Up with Patients
Dana Abramovitz 0:00
Hi, everyone. My name is Dana Abramovitz. And I am a lead advisor with seven investing. I am joined today with Amanda Epp, founding team member and CEO of ScriptDrop. We’re going to talk about telehealth and technology and healthcare, and all sorts of things. So I’m excited to welcome Amanda, thank you for joining me today.
Amanda Epp 0:25
Thanks for having me.
Dana Abramovitz 0:26
Cool. All right. So ScriptDrop is a relatively new company. Can you tell us more about it? And why you found a need to create it now?
Amanda Epp 0:39
Yeah, so we are relatively new. And of course, our growth accelerated last year, probably lightyears beyond what we thought we would do at this point. But really, we exist, because everything can go right in a patient journey, right? So a script is written for medication for a patient, there’s a lot of time, energy and effort to that goes on behind the scenes, often that patients don’t know about to gain access to that medication for the patient. And then the pharmacist has to do a lot of work in order to just even dispense it.
And over 25% of the time, the patient actually doesn’t do their part to pick it up. And it is usually a $0 co-pay, or maybe under $10. So it might not always be a financial reason, it often is critical that they get on that therapy, and still, it’s abandoned. So that’s really why script drop exists and was created is because we needed a way to make medication access just more convenient for patients because we know, healthy outcomes start at home, first and foremost. So we’ve built out our network over the years to ensure that no matter where you’re at, as a patient, no matter what state that you’re able to connect to prescription delivery through us.
Dana Abramovitz 1:55
That is amazing. I hadn’t thought about patients not picking up their prescriptions. And that being a problem. All sorts of patients complications during the health care journey, you know, just making appointments on time, you know, following up, but I didn’t realize that picking up the prescription was such a big problem.
Amanda Epp 2:24
Yeah, or even just time to get on therapy to when you think of leaving your doctor’s office, and you’re prescribed something and you’re like, yeah, I’ll make it to the pharmacy at some point, or I’ll go through the drive thru. And still life gets in the way. And it could be days before you get on a medication that you should be taking right away. Or even when you think about some medications, you don’t feel the impact of them as much. And so you think as a patient, oh, I’m okay, I don’t need to take it. So you delay that getting to the pharmacy even more. So being able to just connect patients with a different way to get prescriptions instead of actually having to do their part to just get to the pharmacy. That’s where, where we take over and really provide that convenience.
Dana Abramovitz 3:14
Excellent. Yeah. And then you mentioned just your accelerated growth during the past year during the pandemic, I’d love to hear more about that. I’m actually going to change the view so that we’re gallery view. There we go. Let’s see if that helps. Okay.
Amanda Epp 3:30
Yeah, so in it, all of 2020, our partnerships grew actually 220%. A lot of pharmacies and retailers, of course, had to change their way of thinking. Usually it was, oh, I want foot traffic. And a pharmacy is a way to drive that foot traffic into the store and increase basket size. Well, patients weren’t safe going into the store. So our partnerships definitely accelerated. Our revenue grew over 170% over 2019, and then our volume increased over 320%. So a really big year, a lot for us to keep up with. But it was just a really, it was still an exciting journey, knowing that we were making such an impact in a critical time and critical need for patients.
Dana Abramovitz 4:24
And you touched upon your your partnerships. You know, do you want to expand on that, like how does that work? And how are you helping them and how, with that symbiotic relationship?
Amanda Epp 4:45
Actually, the beauty of ScriptDrop is our, our product sort of plugs into that healthcare ecosystem and creates a win win win for all the different parties involved. I mean, everybody cares about making sure that the patient is on therapy. We lower readmittance rates back into the hospital. And they become healthier. That’s what’s really best for healthcare outcomes as a whole, and where our healthcare needs to have is that patient based outcomes understanding that patients are getting healthier from the medications. And so we really started with our pharmacy partners. Delivery is not new to them. There’s independent pharmacies and even retail chains out there that are offering delivery before ScriptDrop, and even mail order.
But what we knew about pharmacies is that the more and more you can reduce their administrative burden, the more that they will use it, and the more patients that are becoming healthier. So really, that was that the first place that we approached is integrating directly into the pharmacy systems. And being a part of the pharmacists workflow, whether it’s in their patient apps that they’re creating, or their actual pharmacy workflow, we plug in either way to give them in more convenient and easy and seamless way to offer delivery for their patients.
So we work with chains like Rite Aid, Publix, Albertsons companies, and then we’ve also worked with health systems over the years too. So when you think about it, health systems, of course, want to make sure that their patients are staying healthy, and they’re lowering their readmittance rates back into the hospitals. So we work with health systems, as well as now where we are starting to pilot some programs to his payers from manufacturers, telehealth companies, because everybody, of course, wants that patient to stay healthy, but they need that last mile delivery, to know that that patient is actually on therapy, and we can continue to power the refills from there.
Dana Abramovitz 6:56
You mentioned two things that I really like talking about. So value based care, and making sure that the patient gets what they need, and really focusing and emphasizing the patient, but then also the ecosystem and not just applying technology as a band aid to the healthcare systems. So many technology companies are just like, ‘Oh, this healthcare system, it’s broken. If we just add this technology to it, it’ll be you know, it’ll be so much easier, so much better.’ But it sounds like you really took the time to understand the ecosystem. And understood what are the needs and the limitations of the pharmacist so that you could work with them to improve their existing workflows, rather than just sticking a bandaid on top of it.
Amanda Epp 7:50
You’re so right. And there’s so many times tech companies come in like ‘here’s a band aid here, and then something else breaks, and then it’s another company that goes in to fix it.’ Exactly. And that’s the approach we want to take is looking at it all holistically. And we believe in healthcare, it’s not about disrupting, it’s about partnering, there’s so many problems in healthcare that technology helps to solve or when you look at it big picture or you put pieces and parts of companies together, that’s really when you can make a big impact. So we do take the approach of we’re a partner, we’re not a competitor. That’s why we plug into so many different areas in the healthcare ecosystem in that patient journey. Because at the end of the day, what matters most to all of those people that the patient stays healthy. And back to outcomes based care. Yeah.
Dana Abramovitz 8:44
Love that. I love that. So we’ve talked about how you guys are fitting into the larger market. It sounds like there’s been a lot of growth. And I know we were talking chatting earlier about your team and how when I first looked at your website, it was great to see all these women leaders, on your team and just how your your team is growing and you integrating into this market?
Amanda Epp 9:18
Yes. So we do have a lot of women in leadership. And what I think we’re starting to see more of, which is exciting, is more CEOs and Presidents of these larger health care companies. When you look at even CVS and Walgreens and it’s really exciting to see women at the forefront and really, at ScriptDrop too we actually have a lot of women in leadership and are excited about actually going to a meeting and we had a team of all women on a project that I was just shocked. We didn’t mean for that to happen and It was a full group of women leading this project together.
Nowadays I’m starting to hear in either investor meetings or even in just actually pharmacy technology meetings. They’re all women sometimes. And it’s, it’s interesting that we all have to make a comment about it. Like, Hey, I’m never in a meeting where it’s all women. But I’m hearing it more and more. And I think some of it is because we have empowered, so many women leaders at ScriptDrop, that we’re just naturally a part of more meetings with all women. But also hopefully, we won’t have to comment that it’s unusual in the in the near future.
Dana Abramovitz 10:43
I think we are getting there, which is great. Yeah. So how does ScriptDrop, fit into the larger telehealth component? If somebody is using a telehealth visit with their doctor, how do you plug into that?
Amanda Epp 11:06
Yes, so, I’m excited we have a telehealth partnership live, and we’re looking to launch a really big one here in the near future. But when you think about it, if you’re getting a virtual visit, you shouldn’t be going to the pharmacy then to get your medication. So it makes sense to get that prescription delivered. So ScriptDrop, is plugging into that telehealth visit to ensure that at the point of the doctor prescribing the medication, that delivery is an option. And delivery can be an option from your preferred pharmacy, and we can work with you to ensure that that prescription gets delivered.
So it’s a different approach. And it’s utilizing the way that we have built our platform. So we often get compared to logistics companies, and logistics companies they care about volume and density and taking things from point A to point B. And our approach has always been we care about the patient. So we’re going to take on the rural areas, we’re going to take on the places that you know your logistics companies really don’t want to go. Because we care about getting that patient maybe 20 miles away from the pharmacy on their medication. So because we’ve made deliveries in all 50 states, because we’ve taken that approach, it’s much easier for a telehealth provider to plug ScriptDrop into that platform. Because we don’t have any limitations on where we really can go for that patient. It’s just do you want delivery – and we can take care of it.
Dana Abramovitz 12:44
I love that. And again, I love that you’re focusing on the patient, and making sure that they get the care that they need. And everything else just kind of you make it work.
Amanda Epp 12:56
Right. If you focus on the patient first, everybody else, everybody else wins. And it makes sense. It just
Dana Abramovitz 13:03
Yeah, it seems good. So here we are trying to fix the healthcare system, right. So you were talking about the logistics companies, and there might be some competition, I can name a big logistics company that, you know, you might be competing with, but how are you differentiating from a big logistics company like Amazon, I’ll go ahead and say it. Aside from just that rural and — might not have access to access to getting their medications delivered.
Amanda Epp 13:59
Yes. So what we do is we partner with logistics companies, and then we partner with different types of logistics companies too. So coming to ScriptDrop, think of us as that one stop shop for whenever you want your delivery, so maybe you have an antibiotic. We’re like, okay, we need to get this to you within an hour, we can do that. Maybe it’s a maintenance medication, we’re just going to go ahead and ship that through UPS. So us being able to have that versatility of types of delivery, is really critical, as well as we are not a pharmacy ourselves.
So Amazon, of course, is a digital pharmacy and there’s a lot of those other digital type or cloud pharmacies, as people say, out there and we take the approach that we’re not a pharmacy, but we partner with pharmacies, and so it’s that power of brick and mortar that still exists. Those physical points of presence, it’s how we get the medications to the patient sending them faster, is because you still need to work with a dispensing pharmacy to pick up and then deliver the medication to the patient. So the power of our network actually helps a lot of our pharmacy partners band together against Amazon and give them a way to offer delivery faster, and offer differentiated delivery, something that a patient can get in an hour, instead of having to wait for it to be shipped.
Dana Abramovitz 15:33
Yeah, that’s great. And then it also brings upon the important part of the pharmacist. So I used to work in a pharmacy. So I know, the relationships that patients have with their pharmacists, a lot of times, they’ll see their pharmacist before their see their doctor, right. It’s just that local person that they can talk to they have this really good rapport with. And so, you know, are you able to meet help pharmacists maintain these types of relationships?
Amanda Epp 16:05
Exactly. I mean, pharmacists are some of the most trusted in all of the professions out there. I think it’s the number two, actually. So yes, we believe that pharmacists are critical, in healthcare and the healthcare ecosystem and the workflow and allowing folks to have connections with their pharmacist that already exists. And when you think of a lot of the population, still, with baby boomers, they still probably want to talk to their pharmacist and care about their pharmacist.
And so our network and our power allows us, if you love your pharmacy keep it, that’s fine, we can connect you with the pharmacist, your pharmacist then has new offerings that they can give to you, especially if you can’t get in to see them, it’s okay, they can still work with you, you can still get your medication from them, instead of having it have to go to one of the cloud pharmacies. So we give our patients that flexibility to keep their pharmacist but if you also don’t care and you’re in a telehealth visit, where where that script comes from, we can use anyone in our network too so it’s creating that foundation allows us to have the flexibility for our patients at the end of the day.
Dana Abramovitz 17:21
That’s great. Let’s see, I have other questions. So we’ve talked about telehealth and that extension into that so that patients get the care that they need, where do you see telehealth moving forward? I know that there had been a struggle for telehealth to come into being and then with the pandemic, it was just like, well, thank goodness, we have this, but now that people are getting vaccinated, and so people are roaming more, do we do we stay with telehealth? I know, that some insurance payers are changing how they reimburse. How does this kind of grow into the future do you think?
Amanda Epp 18:21
Yeah I definitely think this space will consolidate. But what we’re hearing also from a lot of our health system partners is, it’s probably going to remain about 25% of their visits. It is the new normal, and convenience is the new normal. I can see my doctor like this, instead of having to actually get in the car and go somewhere. And same with prescription delivery. So they they seem to go hand in hand. But I definitely don’t think it’s going away anytime soon. And we’ll just continue to consolidate but also find different ways to differentiate platforms for patients or for their healthcare partners, or their health systems even. So, I think it’s an exciting space to to watch and for us to be a part of.
Dana Abramovitz 19:12
Yeah, no, I totally agree. So I had also worked at a digital health company with patient follow up. And so as you’re looking to expand, just maintaining care, you know, with your emphasis being on patient and patient health and getting the treatment that they need, that follow up. Is the medication working, do they need refills, just maintaining some sort of touch point with patients and that connection between, you know, their pharmacist or doctor.
Amanda Epp 19:52
Exactly. And the other piece too, is that there are so many adherence programs out there, and they’re all great, in some way, shape or form. But what they all could use is that power of delivery at the end of the day to know, okay, my patient got the therapy in the first place. And then how do I make sure that they actually are adherent and continue? Instead of just often being patient reported outcomes or looking at some data, we have the proof that they received the medication. So yeah, just really thinking of us as that plug in for some of those adherence programs, too. But continuing to empower the pharmacist and pharmacy of course, to stay in touch through those refill reminders, having delivery as a part of that.
Dana Abramovitz 20:40
Yeah. Excellent. Cool. Well those are all the questions I had this was I thought it was a really good conversation. Do you have any other things that you’d like to share that I didn’t touch on?
Amanda Epp 20:57
I cannot think of anything. No, this has been great. I’m excited to be to be the first one. So yeah, thank you so much for having me. I thought it was great.
Dana Abramovitz 21:11
Yeah, I really enjoyed learning more about you and your company, and just really how it kind of fits into that that whole ecosystem. And our members I hope they know like when I look at companies and evaluate them these are the types of things that I’m looking at. The management, the fit, it’s not just the financials. And I really like the values that you’ve set forth, and how it integrates into the whole healthcare ecosystem, to really not differentiate it, but just improve it. So I really like that.
Amanda Epp 22:00
Thank you. I appreciate it.
Dana Abramovitz 22:02
Yeah. Cool. All right. Thank you so much, Amanda.
Amanda Epp 22:06
Thank you. Great.
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