McKesson ideaShare 2013 REWIND: Variety of new McKesson tools, services give community pharmacies the edge in future of pharmacy, top execs say

LAS VEGAS — Patient care is local. And at the end of the day, when the book has been written on healthcare reform that simple fact will create more opportunity for community pharmacy owners — at least the ones who are able to seize that opportunity.

The highly successful McKesson ideaShare 2013 conference featured hours of comprehensive education and business sessions and the debut of several important new products and solutions to help community pharmacies capitalize on the growth that is anticipated as 32 million more Americans are added to the insurance rolls — and payers look for ways to contain costs and improve outcomes. From the event show floor at the Venetian Resort and Casino, McKesson’s top executives shared their optimism in exclusive interviews with DSN.

“The opportunity over time as reimbursement moves from fee-for-service to this concept of value-based reimbursement is to improve care while reducing costs,” Mark Walchirk, president McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical, shared with DSN on the last day of the conference. “Community pharmacy is extremely well positioned to be successful in that type of environment,” he said. “That’s a tremendous opportunity for community pharmacy because of the unique relationships that owners and pharmacists have with their patients.”

“Local is critical. When you look at patient care, having that relationship with the patient is really critical,” added Steve Courtman, Health Mart president. “At McKesson and Health Mart we’re providing those tools for community pharmacies to be able to have personalized conversations with the patient to improve their health and maintain medication adherence,” he said.

It’s the one-on-one relationships community pharmacists have with their patients that actually augment adherence initiatives, Walchirk and Courtman noted. Those improvements in adherence, along with other services such as behavioral coaching, medication therapy management and robust immunization programs have McKesson very bullish on the future of the community pharmacy landscape.

“Gains in adherence have a positive impact on the cost of healthcare in our country,” Walchirk said. “As we, in this country, look to manage and control the cost of health care, adherence to medication therapy has got to be a big part of that dialogue. And in that dialogue, in a world where outcomes-based or value-based reimbursement is going to be the reality, medication adherence is going to start to get a much stronger [voice].”

“Physicians are going to be looking for partners to care for their patients, and Health Mart is that care destination,” Courtman added.

And to help pharmacy clients realize the most out of those adherence opportunities, McKesson introduced a number of new programs and services at the event. “At a high level, we strive to continue to innovate and really bring tools and resources to help pharmacy owners be successful,” Walchirk said.

Among the new products and services debuting at McKesson ideaShare 2013, some highlights included —

  • The McKesson Mobile Delivery app. Designed for use with Apple iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPad mini, the Mobile Delivery app can scan prescription labels, process credit or FSA cards, capture all payment and pharmacy-related signatures, and email receipts. Within the pharmacy, the app supports drive-through services, equally as important, the app enables pharmacists to extend services directly to the point of care whether that be bedside or in the home.
  • Your Pharmacy Online and Mobile app (available late summer). McKesson’s Your Pharmacy Online platform already lets patients manage their prescriptions, receive refill reminders and learn about store promotions and events through a customizable landing page. Now these new communication tools can be extended to the patient’s smartphone to provide service when, where and how the patient chooses to engage with McKesson customers.
  • Clinical Services. McKesson highlighted its portfolio of clinical services designed to improve care as well as potentially increase revenues, such as medication therapy management, vaccination programs and the Pharmacy Intervention Program, behavioral coaching opportunities identified through McKesson’s Sponsored Clinical Services pharmacy network.
  • McKesson Connect Community. The McKesson Connect Community is a fast-growing area that provides a forum where pharmacists and pharmacy owners can connect with their peers. Since the beginning of 2013, membership has grown by more than 30% to 3,000 total members.
  • Physician Outreach Program. McKesson helps pharmacists build relationships with healthcare providers in their communities through a proprietary database that provides physician-specific data on more than 1 million prescribers and helps pharmacists identify high-opportunity prescribers in their area. According to a recent McKesson study, current subscribers have experienced a 1.8% average increase in prescriptions after using the tool, while subscribers using the tool more frequently and for longer durations have experienced up to a 7% increase in prescriptions.
  • RxOwnership. Representatives from McKesson's RxOwnership program hosted the Sixth Annual Ownership Transfer Luncheon where attendees discussed different case studies related to buying and selling a pharmacy. "We have guided over 1,500 pharmacies through the ownership-transfer process and helped more than 500 owners start a pharmacy from the ground up," commented Bob Graul, national VP, RxOwnership.
  • Local Marketing Support Program. The Local Marketing Support program puts marketing funds and new tools directly in members’ hands and makes it easier for them to grow their business by attracting new patients and driving new revenue. The program delivers a wide variety of fresh, new, consumer-tested marketing tools and resources to help Health Mart pharmacists and pharmacy owners market more effectively with less effort. There is no fee to enroll in the Local Marketing Support program, and members can order individual marketing tools, pre-packaged campaigns or subscription programs.
  • New Store Design. Health Mart updated its store design and décor to help create a shopper-friendly atmosphere with easier access to the pharmacist. The new store design is scalable, affordable and adaptable to almost any store footprint.

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- 9:37 AM
thomasjmorrow says

Another new technology for retail pharmacy is the use of a Virtual Health Assistant... Avatar by any other name. See more in a recent article in Forbes:

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