Finding synergy between food, Rx

Helen Eddy

Drug Store News interview with Helen Eddy, VP health and wellness at Hy-Vee

Drug Store News: How did Hy-Vee get the idea to have pharmacists and dieticians collaborate on educating patients about disease states and health management?

Helen Eddy: We started by having three corporate dieticians on staff, which grew into having dieticians in the stores. The evolution of the pharmacist and dietician teams was just a natural partnership that evolved quickly. I credit our stores for recognizing the synergies and developing the programs. At Hy-Vee, the best ideas come from our stores.

DrSN: What do you hope to accomplish the most?

Eddy: Richard Jurgens, our chairman and CEO, has stated that our goal is to be the healthiest company in America, and then to help the states in which we operate become the healthiest states in the nation. We will do that through employee and customer programs that help them live healthier lifestyles and reverse the obesity epidemic.

DrSN: How do you leverage your capabilities as a supermarket pharmacy in educating patients with chronic disease states?

Eddy: Supermarket pharmacies are uniquely positioned to help customers achieve their health goals through the combination of pharmacy and healthy food choices. Every time that we are educating a customer about a disease, we address diet and healthy lifestyles.

Prescription medications alone usually are not enough to achieve the desired health outcome. It also requires that we address diet and nutrition. The supermarket, where [customers] shop, is the ideal classroom for teaching customers how to live healthier lives.

DrSN: What roles can supermarket pharmacies play in the U.S. healthcare system?

Eddy: Our healthcare crisis will not be resolved until we address obesity and begin preventing chronic disease. The supermarket pharmacy is an accessible, unique resource for both patients and healthcare professionals. Supermarket pharmacies have the health expertise of their pharmacists, combined with healthy, fresh food.

At Hy-Vee, we are already seeing physicians referring patients to our dieticians and pharmacists for education because we combine nutrition and chronic disease education. The result is better patient outcomes.

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