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1st floor, 68 Sackville Street
Manchester M1 3NJ

Well Pharmacy

Improving the prescription collection service

Service design and prototyping project, to inform patients about prescriptions and giving time back to staff.


During a discovery phase inside Well pharmacies across the UK we identified that the stores experience a high volume of uncollected prescriptions.

Existing analogue systems as well as low patient awareness resulted in uncollected medicine and unnecessary time and cost spent.

Our challenge was to design a system to increase the conversion rate of uncollected prescriptions.

We aimed to engage customers in new ways to deliver a best-in-class service while improving the staff and patient experience.


We conducted research in stores to establish baseline metrics and business KPIs. Collaborating with Well stakeholders, pharmacies and customers helped shape and understand business and user needs.

The team also spent time with central operations staff to learn more about store processes and other considerations that might contribute to the design problem. We revisited our previous Discovery work which mapped the end to end prescriptions service and used the user research insights.

Paper-based count-sheets were introduced to stores to help us with establishing the baseline metrics – this needed to be comfortable and simple for the staff and not disrupt their day to day pharmacy activities. Data was collected from six stores in a four week period to provide a benchmark to measure the effectiveness of our design solutions.


Opting for ‘Wizard of Oz’ prototyping enabled the team to act as the service backstage manually, we mitigated risking time and cost to validate a potential concept.

By creating the illusion of an automated SMS system letting customers know when their prescription is ready to collect and allowing them to communicate to the pharmacy digitally, we wanted to test if the service would have positive results.

We designed SMS notification and postage delivery prototypes with selected stores and ran a trial for four weeks. This approach was fast, cost-efficient and straightforward and helped validate our identified opportunities to reduce prescription bags on shelves and improve the process of claiming fees from the NHS.

The prototype facilitated:

  • Quick and easy way for staff to update prescription status
  • Awareness for the customer about their prescription availability
  • Learning about customer communication preferences
  • Tracking prescriptions collection in real time
  • Measuring effectiveness of SMS and delivery with a controlled trial
  • Understanding whether home delivery reduced the number of bags on shelves


We selected two stores to test the prototype with from our six stores that collected the baseline numbers.

The SMS trials showed positive results of driving more and faster collections – validating our hypothesis and demonstrating effectiveness in achieving the project objectives. Customers also rated the usefulness of the service very highly based on survey results.

The SMS+Delivery trial showed low customer demand for delivery indicating a need for a further test of various delivery time slots, range of locations, and a different 3rd party provider. Staff praised the service and shared positive feedback.


  • Prescriptions are collected on average 4 days quicker with text
  • Reduction in time, cost, and resource: decrease in customer calls asking for information about their prescription and availability
  • Reduced the number of EPS prescriptions expiring
  • Humanising communication provided a personalised and improved experience
  • Sending an SMS notification increases collections
  • The reminder message to collect after 7 days reduces potential plateau effect

“Everything we did [on this project] was based on the customer, colleague and business issues. There was no point in designing a solution that left any one of those groups out, if it failed for one it would fail for all.

Richard Hackett, Pharmacist and Project Manager at Well
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0161 236 9898

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1st floor, 68 Sackville Street
Manchester M1 3NJ