News + Notes

Touchless prescription delivery startup expands after successful Covid launch

Photo by Travis Gauthier
Presto drivers like Trish Ducote are able to deliver prescriptions within an hour of call out.

It’s already been a busy March for Presto Health. The medicine delivery startup expanded to 40 clinics in Lafayette Parish after a successful launch late last year. 

A spin-off of app-based laundry service Hampr, Presto began offering delivery services out of Ochsner Lafayette General urgent care clinics in Carencro, River Ranch and Youngsville Dec. 1 and was expanded in late February to any of Lafayette Parish physicians in the system. According to Michael Dozier, chief information officer at Ochsner Lafayette General, the program has seen early success in the limited trial, and he expects results to continue to improve.

“We’ve talked to several patients, and they’re very thankful we have this service,” Dozier says. “We’ve had a lot of patients who have tested positive for Covid, and we’ve been able to deliver their prescriptions to their door instead of having them go out to a pharmacy to get them and possibly impacting others.”

When the prescription is filled, contactless delivery is arranged to keep both drivers and patients safe. More than 50% of deliveries have been Covid patients, Dozier says.

Presto Health came about through a mix of adversity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a bit of serendipity.

Presto and Hampr CEO Laurel Hess says when Hampr launched in January 2020, its key customer was the “busy mom on the go.” But the pandemic and subsequent lockdown led to a sudden downturn in customers, and the company needed to adapt.

“The shutdown hit right after we expanded to Baton Rouge. Now the busy mom who was our core target customer wasn’t so busy anymore,” Hess explains. “We saw a dip and were worried, but then Cian Robinson with Lafayette General reached out to us and said, ‘We need someone to partner with us to deliver prescriptions. Do you think you can do that?’”

At the time, Hess didn’t see how the two business models would mesh, but realizing the asset she had in Hampr’s parishwide delivery network for laundry, she saw an opportunity to adapt.

The service received a significant seed investment back in August from the Health Innovation Fund. The HIF — funded by Ochsner Health, Acadian Ambulance, The William C. Schumacher Foundation and LHC Group — invested an undisclosed amount of money in Hampr, the Acadiana Advocate reported at the time. Hampr also partnered with OLG to set up laundry service for hospital workers on the frontline of the pandemic.

Presto isn’t just open to Covid patients. It has also been used by patients who don’t have transportation to a pharmacy available or who just can’t go to a pharmacy. Prescriptions are filled by the Lafayette General Medical Center retail pharmacy.

“I got bit by something and my doctor prescribed medicine for it. She told me they were a part of a pharmacy delivery service and said it would be delivered to me, and about 90 minutes later it was here,” says Carlie Faulk, a Presto Health user. “We have a child, and we didn’t want to go through the ordeal of stopping our day to go get it. They did very well, and I’d give it a 10 out of 10. It’s easy, convenient and free.”

During the two-month trial period, Presto Health’s delivery service averaged delivery times of under an hour from the moment a doctor calls in a prescription to it being left on the patient’s doorstep. This blew the original goal of less than four hours delivery time out of the water, according to Dozier.

Through those three clinics, a little more than 100 patients were served by Presto Health. Now that the program has expanded to around 40 clinics across the parish, Hess and Dozier are hoping they can keep the service performing just as well as before.

Dozier says Ochsner is currently using another service in many of its coverage networks but is looking at the pilot program’s success and might expand it to other markets that are not currently covered.