Smartphones haven’t just made it much easier for us to communicate with friends and scroll through pictures of cute dogs – it’s also made it easier to manage your health with access to your prescriptions and medication refills on-demand.
Major pharmacies like Rite Aid and CVS have their own smartphone apps, and Walgreens is no different. But outside of the brick-and-mortar store, does the Walgreens app function as it should? And is it better than similar alternatives?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Walgreens app for all of your pharmaceutical and convenience store needs.
Walgreens is an American company that operates the second-largest pharmacy chain in the country. Founded by Charles Rudolph Walgreen, the store has a long history of providing prescription medications, convenience store items, photo printing, and on-site vaccinations. Recently, the chain started offering COVID-19 testing at select locations.
The Walgreens smartphone application for Android and iPhone allows you to manage your prescriptions on the fly. You can refill your orders by scanning your barcode, track medication status, and even get free prescription assistance through its 24/7 pharmacy expert live chat.
Outside of that, Walgreens cardholders can use the app to enjoy access to exclusive deals and coupons. You can make pick-up orders through the app, earn rewards for purchases, and use the app to find the nearest physical store in your vicinity.
You can also use the app to select photos for same-day printing and pick-up. It can also be used to make vaccine appointments as well as schedule a COVID-19 test at a nearby location.
The Walgreens app is a free service that you can download on your phone.
As far as pharmaceutical applications go, this one has some nice benefits.
- The app is well organized, making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.
- It’s very convenient, especially when it comes to managing prescriptions or checking coupons.
- Walgreens rewards members can get extra coupons and deals you can’t find anywhere else.
- Refilling prescriptions is a breeze thanks to the app’s barcode scanning feature.
With all of that said, there are a few drawbacks that might make it less effective compared to other pharmacy’s apps.
- The photos feature is glitchy and unreliable. It’s more of a hassle to use the app than it is to just go into a Walgreens and use one of the photo kiosks.
- Prescription refills are sometimes undependable. Specifically, there seems to be a lot of miscommunication between pharmacists and primary care doctors.
- Scheduling vaccinations is a time-consuming hassle that also doesn’t feel very user-friendly.
Those are some tough pills to swallow. But let’s dive in and break apart all of the good and bad so you can have a better idea as far as whether or not this app deserves to take up memory on your phone.
One of the more helpful and convenient features of the app is that you can refill an empty prescription by just snapping a photo of the barcode on the side of your bottle or box. This feature worked well for us, and we were able to put in a refill to get shipped directly to our selected pharmacy within just two days.
With that said, many people have complained that the time between requesting a refill and actually getting one is a little frustrating. This is because pharmacists will call your primary care physician to ensure that you’re able to get a refill. It seems like there may be a delay in most cases where pharmacists take a while to accomplish this task.
While that’s less of a critique of the app itself, it is still something to note, as the software system within the application may be the reason that pharmacists have such difficulty being able to contact your physician.
Another nice feature as far as prescriptions go is that you can live chat with a pharmacist expert 24/7 to ask questions about your medications, or even just general health advice. We used it to ask if we could take two different medications at the same time. They were friendly and responsive while also getting straight to the point.
Finally, the Walgreens app lets you set medication reminders so that you don’t miss your medication doses. It will send you push notifications at given times of day so that you reduce the risk of forgetting to take your medication. While you can do this with the pre-installed calendar app on your phone, it’s nice to have the option here.
Select Walgreens stores serve as vaccination clinics, as well as COVID-19 testing sites. This means you can get your COVID-19 boosters, flu shots, or other required immunizations often at no cost with insurance.
The app allows you to schedule your appointments all in one place. While it’s convenient to be able to use the app for these features, be prepared for a time-consuming process that might not even work as intended.
We tried to sign up for our COVID-19 booster through the app. You’ll be asked a large number of questions as far as your current health status, health history, and insurance information. While this is standard, the application was glitchy and hard to work with.
Text fields were often unresponsive, and when we tried to take a photo of our insurance card, it didn’t work the first time around. We needed to refresh the page, which forced us to restart the form from the beginning.
Once we finally submitted the form, we were met with a blank screen. We did eventually receive a confirmation email, but the blank screen was not very intuitive and made us feel like we hadn’t actually scheduled our vaccine.
With all of that said, it wasn’t completely agonizing. You’re able to register for multiple vaccines at the same time, so we signed up for a flu shot simultaneously. This is a convenient way to feed two birds with one scone.
As far as COVID-19 testing, the app works a little bit better. This might be because there are fewer questions and required documents for receiving a test, but overall we were able to schedule a drive-up testing appointment with relative ease.
Perhaps the saving grace of the Walgreens app is its access to exclusive deals and promo rewards. Before you shop at a store, you can use the app to see certain digital coupons that you can “clip” and then scan at checkout. The search feature lets you look up specific items that you need so you can see if there is a specific coupon related to that item.
One of our favorite features is that you can scan product barcodes while you’re shopping in-store to see if there are any current deals. We scanned a pack of deodorant and found that they were offering a buy one get one free with a coupon. It’s a super convenient feature that makes it a lot easier to save.
You also earn points for shopping at Walgreens that you can later use on your purchases. We’ve been using the Walgreens app for quite some time, and after a few months of regular spending for necessities and prescriptions, we had over $6 in cashback rewards that we were able to use on a new purchase. It might not seem like much, but it was a nice surprise when we basically got a few packs of gum for free.
Photo Ordering and Pick-Up
Walgreens photo center allows you to make same-day prints from your phone. You can select small to large prints and even purchase matching frames. The photos always turn out high quality and are usually completed within just a few hours based on the size of the order.
With that said, navigating the photos section on the app is tricky. Like many other features on the app, this section doesn’t feel intuitive and it has more glitches than we’d expect. The app makes it difficult to scroll through your phone’s photo albums, and we found that when we’d go to checkout, some of the photos that we originally selected would go missing.
While it was nothing game-breaking, it is still probably easier to just use the in-store kiosks rather than the app.
The Walgreens app is great for anyone who has a number of prescriptions that they have to manage or consistently refill. If you use Walgreens as your primary pharmacy, it’s also useful because it makes receiving new prescriptions a breeze.
This app is also useful for anyone who is looking to save money through coupons or rewards whenever they shop at a Walgreens store. Even if you don’t frequently shop at Walgreens, the app is free and you might be able to save a few bucks if you need to stop in for some necessities.
Walgreens App: In Review
The Walgreens app gives you access to much of the physical store’s features all at your fingertips. Its main draw is that you can refill prescriptions and talk to pharmacists all within the app without ever needing to make a phone call or enter the store itself.
The app also allows you to schedule vaccinations and COVID-19 testing, print photos, and access exclusive deals and rewards. While some of these won’t save as much time as the app claims, you’ll undoubtedly save some money with the app’s easy-to-use coupon clipping feature.
Overall, the Walgreens app makes prescription refills easy and offers up tons of savings and rewards to make your routine visits less costly. While the photo printing and vaccination interfaces need some work, the app as a whole is functional enough to make your pharmacy needs a little bit more convenient.
Owner, entrepreneur, and health enthusiast.
Chris is one of the Co-Founders of Pharmacists.org. An entrepreneur at heart, Chris has been building and writing in consumer health for over 10 years. In addition to Pharmacists.org, Chris and his Acme Health LLC Brand Team own and operate Diabetic.org and the USA Rx Pharmacy Discount Card powered by Pharmacists.org.
Chris has a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation and is a proud member of the American Medical Writer’s Association (AMWA), the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP), the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the Council of Science Editors, the Author’s Guild, and the Editorial Freelance Association (EFA).
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