In the past several years, retailers — and especially e-tailers — have discovered how same-day delivery provides new levels of value to their customers. Order a toaster oven online in the morning, and you can be making a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner.
Los Angeles–based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is using this same concept to deliver medication to people whose lives depend on it. Founded in 1987 as a 25-bed, end-of-life hospice center, AHF is a non-profit that today serves more than 200,000 clients in 28 countries, providing counseling, advocacy and medical care. Thanks to the 1996 revolution in anti-viral drugs, AHF is able to help many of its clients live full, active lives despite an HIV or AIDS diagnosis. Pharmaceuticals, in other words, are critical.
“People can take one pill, once a day, and potentially live a normal life expectancy,” says AHF president Michael Weinstein, one of the original champions of HIV/AIDS advocacy.
But breakthrough pharmacological treatments haven’t lowered the urgency in AHF’s battle with HIV/AIDS. In fact, they’ve doubled it.
The Last Three Miles of Care
To connect clients with today’s newest, most powerful and effective medications, the organization launched a network of AHF Pharmacies across the country, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. Some of these pharmacies serve more than 1,000 people, many of whom rely on the home delivery of medication due to incapacitating illness, transportation challenges or personal schedules.
While opening a world of opportunity for its clients, home delivery did present AHF with a challenge. On the one hand, the cutting-edge anti-viral pharmaceuticals AHF Pharmacy was delivering thrilled clients and saved lives. On the other hand, a patched-together network of local courier services and healthcare delivery specialists didn’t allow AHF Pharmacy to deliver those drugs as quickly, reliably and discreetly as they needed to.
“These patients have to have these medications when they need them,” says AHF senior vice president Peter Reis. “Their monthly refill has to be there on time.”
So while AHF had a state-of-the-art worldwide network of care for HIV clients, it was too often the last three miles of care that proved vexing. A day’s delay — or in the case of critical clients, a delay of even a few hours — was unacceptable.
As a result, the organization launched a Los Angeles–based pilot with FedEx SameDay® City, a service that allowed AHF pharmacists near-real-time medication delivery — as quickly as within two hours of ready time. In addition, the service provided AHF with shipment tracking, a new level of visibility that provided even more security — essential given the value of the medications and client privacy needs.
“Timeliness and reliability are critical to my patients, because if they miss even one dose of their medication, it can throw off their entire therapy,” says AHF pharmacist Dale Jackson. “If they need that dose today, FedEx SameDay City is a great way to get it to them.”
The initial pilot proved so successful that AHF has rolled out FedEx SameDay City to a quickly growing list of U.S. markets: Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
“It’s not what we hear from clients that tells us this is successful,” Jackson says. “It’s what we don’t hear. The complaints have disappeared.”