New Feature: Introducing secure delivery codes at Phlo

December 2, 2021
9 minute read

Here at Phlo, we always strive to provide a superior experience to our patients when using the Phlo service.

Part of this is always making sure that medication is delivered safely and securely. To achieve this, we would previously ask our same-day delivery patients to provide a form of photographic ID to their courier.

Many of our same-day patients appreciated the added security and peace of mind of the ID check when receiving their delivery. However, for some patients, showing ID when receiving their medication was inconvenient. Based on this feedback, we wanted to improve the delivery experience for our patients.

Therefore, we introduced “Secure Delivery Codes” for our same-day medication deliveries. This new feature means our patients can now quote a one-time numeric code to verify their identity when they meet their courier therefore removing the need to provide photographic ID. Patients still have the option to present their ID, however, we wanted to ensure that our patients could choose either verification option which suits them best.

When developing new features, we take our time to understand existing patient pain-points and what we can do to improve the Phlo experience. This is a continuous process and demonstrates why patient feedback is so important to us when developing and improving our service.

How we approached the problem

When designing any new product feature, we begin by researching the problem we are trying to solve by gathering input from our patients and the relevant teams in the business. Deep discovery at the outset of a new feature allows the team to gather relevant information which will help with the development process.

We initially drew inspiration from the commonly used pin codes and “one time” passwords (OTP’s). OTP's are a secure method of verifying the ID of a recipient. OTP's are time-restricted, meaning they expire after a specified time period has lapsed.

We worked together with our Pharmacy and user research teams to establish a set of guidelines that would most benefit our patients. These included:

  • Ensuring the codes are highly visible to the patient
  • Displayed via email, text and in-app
  • Any word codes used should be memorable
  • Word codes should be simple for the patient to remember
  • Numeric codes should never be duplicated, a new code must always be generated
  • Numeric codes should be valid for for 8 hours (double our delivery timeslot window)

Developing the solution

Our initial solution was dubbed 'The Magic Word', whereby a patient would be asked to set their memorable word which they could edit whenever they pleased. This solution also benefited our customer service team as the patients “magic word” would be attached to their account, which the customer service team could use to identify the patient during any interactions.

However, when assessing the feasibility of the “magic word” solution the challenges outweighed the benefits.

We decided that using words could lead to complications when factoring in:

  • non-English native speakers
  • patients with speech impediments
  • patients with learning difficulties

As a team, we decided to keep this simple and easy for our patients to use by implementing numerical secure delivery codes instead.

Reasons for numeral digits:

  • The same numeral digits can be found in a wide range of languages with the exception of some e.g. Arabic or Chinese
  • The patient can show their delivery code to the courier
  • Reduced the potential error rate as numbers are used throughout daily life in the UK
  • The courier can quickly identify if the numbers match

How Secure Delivery Codes Work

We decided that generating a random secure 4-digit code would offer our patients the best overall user experience.

A same-day delivery patient will now see their 4-digit secure delivery code when they place their medication order as well as being included in their confirmation email.

When Phlo’s courier has collected the medication from the pharmacy, patients will receive an additional SMS and email stating their secure delivery code, so they always have it to hand. We also display the secure delivery-code on the live-tracking map.

The end solution showing the different ways the code is displayed.

Next steps

As with any new feature we release the next steps are to validate what we have built is working for our patients and make any necessary improvements.

At Phlo we value all feedback from our patients as to how we can improve our service and suggestions for new features which will improve their experience with Phlo.

If you have any suggestions please get in touch!

Content last reviewed on:
Next review date:
Further reading
Patient receiving delivery from Phlo

Join our pharmacy revolution

There’s no better time to become part of the Phlo community. Take control of your medication management and join the 1,000s of patients we’ve helped safely manage their medication.

Download the Phlo app and enjoy an enhanced experience!
Link to download app from Apple StoreLink to download app from Google Play store