You may be hearing from Walgreens often in your SMS inbox. The giant Deerfield, Ill.-based retailer and pharmacy, which recently bought New York chain Duane Reade, announced on June 15 that it will text customers to notify them when they can pick up their prescriptions.
Customers can sign up for the text alerts at Walgreen's mobile site. On mobile phones, go to m.walgreens.com or text the word SITE to 21525 for a direct link. Walgreens will also text information about coupons and product deals.
"Mobile in general for Walgreens is extremely important as our customers are on the go," Tim McCauley, Walgreens' direct of mobile commerce, told eWEEK. "The prescription text alerts let them be alerted immediately wherever they are, whether it's inside our store or in their car, and lets them pick up their prescriptions quickly and conveniently while they're out."
"Text alerts are a valuable, time-saving tool, and the latest example of how our mobile applications are further connecting the Web to Walgreens stores and pharmacies," Mark Wagner, Walgreens executive vice president of operations and community management, said in a statement.
Walgreen's mobile site allows you to enter a prescription number or find a previous order to request a refill. The mobile site also features a one-touch GPS store locator.
Walgreens also reworked its iPhone application, allowing customers to upload photos and order prints on an iPhone using the company's mobile site. The application is available from the iPhone App Store. On BlackBerrys, you'll find the app at BlackBerry App World and on Android units at Android Market.
Walgreen's mobile updates come at a time when mobile health applications are growing fast. In fact, the FCC recently advocated expanding the use of smartphone use for physicians.
One application by a company called Mobile Health Interventions works with doctor's offices to create customized texting plans to help patients achieve health goals, such as managing depression or reducing blood pressure.
In February, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra launched text4baby to provide medical advice to pregnant women. "Text4Baby is the first free mobile health service to be taken to scale in the United States," he wrote in a statement at the time.
In November 2009, Google rolled out Google Flu Trends, a GPS application that shows where flu shots are offered.