Advanced Diabetic Solutions
Advanced Diabetic Solutions and Rx Valet easily sign up
new customers with a click on their mobile phones with
RingCentral Messaging APIs
When Advanced Diabetic Solutions was preparing to launch Rx Valet, an online service for ordering medications and medical supplies, IT Director, Bob Thompson, realised that in addition to a robust website, the business was going to need mobile apps. Not only that, but it needed to add support for mobile messaging as an alternative to email.
Using the RingCentral platform API for SMS, he was able to make mobile messaging available to the mobile apps, as well as other business applications.
This wasn’t the first time Thompson had tapped RingCentral services to help automate business processes—ADS also has integrated RingCentral Fax with some of its core order processing system—but this time RingCentral would play a critical role in the launch of the firm’s most digital service to date.
Founded in 2006 specifically to provide home delivery of diabetic supplies and equipment such as glucose meters, ADS has branched out to establish its own mail-order pharmacy, Advanced Pharmacy, as well as businesses focused on other medical needs, including BioSense Medical Devices, Apnostics, and Essentially Yours Mastectomy Products.
The latest ADS service, Rx Valet, is an online pharmacy benefits manager that works with insurers to provide patients with better prices for medications and medical equipment, including but not limited to products for diabetics. Patients pay on the website and have a choice of either getting medications delivered through Advanced Pharmacy home delivery or getting a printable coupon they can take to their local pharmacy. Rx Valet negotiates prices with pharmacies in the patient’s local area and fulfills prescriptions at the one that provides the best price.
Thompson says when he joined ADS in 2009, “they were still doing everything with spreadsheets and email.” He set to work equipping the business with a more modern set of systems for managing its operations, including desktop software of his own design.
Advanced Diabetic Solutions became a RingCentral customer in 2013. Since 2015, it has used a set of automated applications integrated with RingCentral Fax to send patient eligibility verification documents to doctor’s offices. This is an important part of enrolling a new patient, since ADS must confirm the authenticity of a prescription before it fills the first order. When the completed documents are faxed back, they are received on a RingCentral number associated with the correct department and routed to personnel responsible for completing the enrollment and processing the order.
Thompson took a closer look at the growing family of RingCentral platform APIs as he was gearing up for the launch of Rx Valet, which would be more of an online business than any of previous ADS ventures. Although online marketing of its services had always been part of the ADS business model, it also relied on local sales representatives and face-to-face interaction with many patients, promising personal service to guide them through the treatment of their conditions. Rx Valet would go much further in the direction of allowing all interactions to take place online.
In addition to creating a new website, he contracted with mobile development specialists to create iOS and Android apps that would allow patients to do business with Rx Valet using their phones. However, one element he saw he would need to add was an integration with RingCentral SMS messaging. To make the mobile experience better, the application needed to do an equally good job of messaging patients via SMS versus email. But he wanted those messages to be generated by the same backend systems as the website and to come from a RingCentral phone number, allowing the recipients to call or text back to reach the firm’s service centre.
Working with the RingCentral SDK for C#, Thompson created a simple web service to act as an internal interface to the RingCentral SMS service. The mobile developers could call that service with parameters, including the destination phone number and message body, and that message would be relayed through RingCentral using the company’s account. By architecting the RingCentral integration as a web service, he made it easier to add SMS functionality to other applications as needed.
The initial use was to authenticate new accounts. When a patient signs up through one of the mobile apps, an SMS confirmation message including a coded link is sent to the phone number the individual provided. This works very much like the email confirmation that would be sent for a signup on the website. Once the signup is completed, the service also sends a welcome message with a link to a web page with more information.
“We could use email, but less and less people are going that route anymore,” Thompson says.
Beyond the initial signup, the text messages Thompson expects to be the most beneficial are refill reminders. “That means we do not have to call them,” he says. “Getting people to reorder is important because we want to retain customers, and SMS saves us from having to try to get them on the phone, which is next to impossible.” These days, many people will not answer a call from an unfamiliar number, but they check their text messages faithfully, he says.
An additional service Rx Valet plans to offer is to send patients scheduled reminders when they are supposed to take their medicines. That service will be offered as an additional convenience to members, building loyalty to the service.
Thompson says he found the RingCentral API easy to work with and well documented. “I think I ran into a couple of problems, but I contacted tech support, and they were resolved right away. I wish a lot more companies had that level of help,” he says.
Advanced Diabetic Solutions was created to provide home delivery of products for diabetics such as meters, test strips, and diabetic shoes. Since then, it has branched out through subsidiaries including Advanced Pharmacy, BioSense Medical Devices, Apnostics, and Essentially Yours Mastectomy Products. The firm’s latest venture, Rx Valet, provides patients with discount access to pharmaceuticals.
Year founded: 2006
About 50 full-time employees at headquarters, plus 25 to 30 independent account representatives around the country
“Getting people to reorder is important because we want to retain customers, and SMS saves us from having to try to get them on the phone—which is next to impossible. These days, many people will not answer a call from an unfamiliar number, but they check their text messages faithfully.”
— Bob Thompson, Director of IT
“I think I ran into a couple of problems, but I contacted tech support, and they were resolved right away. I wish a lot more companies had that level of help.”
— Bob Thompson, Director of IT