Fulfilling the need for healthcare-information demand among wired adults, seniors

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — This is a next-generation pharmacy solution for the next generation of seniors, who begin celebrating birthday No. 65 with the coming of the New Year at a rate of one every 10 seconds, and that’s for nearly two straight decades. That’s quite a lot of potential healthcare-information demand Rite Aid will be satisfying with its iPharmacist-styled concept, a factor that may place the Pennsylvania druggist ahead of the game when that whole generation of seniors really start tapping into their pharmacists as a healthcare resource.

(THE NEWS: Rite Aid Online Care to enter Pittsburgh market. For the full story, click here)

According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report released earlier this year, half of online adults ages 50 years to 64 years and 1-in-4 wired seniors now count themselves among the Facebooking masses. That’s up from just 25% of online adults ages 50 years to 64 years and 13% of those ages 65 years and older who reported social-networking use one year ago in a survey conducted in April 2009. It’s a fast-growing demographic — boomers who actively interact online.

So don’t be surprised when these iPharmacists, and the services they’re providing, are tweeted around the nation. Because while just 5% of users ages 50 years to 64 years had used Twitter or another status update service in 2009, 11% now say they use these tools. On a typical day, 6% of online adults ages 50 years to 64 years make Twitter a part of their routine, up from the 1% who did so in 2009, according to that Pew Internet & American Life Project report.

For now, Rite Aid’s team of clinical pharmacists will be available to counsel patients around their prescription and nonprescription medicines, or general health questions around high blood pressure or lower cholesterol and ways to help manage diabetes.

For tomorrow’s seniors, who knows what role the Rite Aid pharmacist might play? Given the steadily heavier demand that will be placed on the pharmacist’s shoulders, tomorrow’s patient-convenient, cost-efficient solution could be full-on medication-therapy management services that are provided to the patient wherever and whenever that patient wants to entertain those services, even at the rate of one every 10 seconds.

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