The pharmacy in your pocket
De Nationale Apotheek
Making it easier to request medication
A user-friendly and reliable app that is accessible 24/7
Making it easier to request medication
Today, in most circumstances, you don’t have to leave the house to buy whatever you need. Whether that’s your weekly grocery shop or the new shoes that you wanted so badly. Ordered in a few clicks and delivered quickly. This made us wonder why accessing medication has to be so complicated. And why should you have to queue (during working hours) to pick your medication up from the pharmacy?
According to De Nationale Apotheek, this process could be easier, quicker, and more user-friendly. But how? They called iO to talk about innovating and streamlining their offer and asked us to develop an app.
User research as the starting point
An app is always just a means to an end. It has to meet the users’ needs, which is to make accessing medication more convenient. Conducting thorough user research was essential.
It emerged that everything we needed to achieve that goal could be contained in an app.
An app that offers all services online, to stand in contrast with traditional pharmacies that are often much less advanced when it comes to digitalisation. An app that collects all information in one place, offering practical functionalities and is always close at hand. Another benefit is that the security of sensitive data can be guaranteed.
A reliable app, that is always accessible
Data confidentially and security was not only important for users. The pharmaceutical industry imposes strict requirements on companies, like the necessity to retain a secure login procedure, so that people can access to their medical data anytime. To make this possible, we used a cloud-based stateless architecture based on web tokens, with an external identity provider. The back-end of the app was developed with Java Spring Boot.
"We are the pharmacy in your pocket."
~ De Nationale Apotheek
Flexibility with React Native
User research revealed that the target group prioritised practical functionalities. Examples of this are quick access to the user’s medication history and a quick and easy ordering process. This required technology that’s suitable for the development of flexible forms, lists and navigation structures. React Native provided us with the flexibility we needed and the added benefit of building an app for both Android and iOS devices simultaneously.
Everything in one place
The app brought data and functionalities together from different sources. To offer all services within one app, we had to develop links with external sources, and because many of these links involve the exchange of privacy-sensitive information, it was important that the links met the pharmaceutical industry’s security requirements.
Some of the links we included in the services are:
In order to identify new users online in a reliable way, we made a link with iDIN, which makes a visit to a pharmacy with proof of identity unnecessary.
Updating personal data
To ensure that users can update personal information such as contact details themselves, we made a link to the secure mail environment Zorgmail.
Requesting new and repeat prescriptions
We made a link to APRO, the pharmacy information system that manages all medication dispensation so that users could request new and repeat prescriptions. We set up a secure cloud connection with the private healthcare network E-Zorg, to maintain privacy and avoid having open API connections.
User research revealed that consumers prefer home delivery. That is why De Nationale Apotheek delivers medication free of charge. To realise this, we made an address checking link with PostNL.
The iO and De Nationale Apotheek collaboration extended through all phases of the project: from digital strategy to implementation. We advised De Nationale Apotheek as an independent partner, combining their knowledge and experience in the pharmaceutical industry with our insights on users and knowledge of technology, strategy, content & creation and marketing. The strength of this collaboration is that De Nationale Apotheek can continue to focus on what they do best: managing and dispatching medication. Their strong performance has not gone unnoticed. De Nationale Apotheek has recently become one of the preferred providers of VGZ and Zilverenkruis and the number of app users increases every month.
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