ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans Food Markets is making it easy for patients to monitor their blood pressure with a stop to the pharmacy at any store, the company announced Wednesday. That’s where customers can find a health station that lets them take their own vital statistics and track them over time, providing the kind of record doctors often ask patients to keep. The Lifeclinic 500 stations can measure blood pressure, pulse, weight and calculate body mass index.
According to Wegmans, it’s fast, free and private. It takes only about a minute to do a reading. A patient's personal statistics can be stored online, protected by password. On a home computer with an internet connection, patients can print out their records to bring to the doctor.
“It makes record keeping so much easier,” stated Katie Niles, a pharmacist who is Wegmans’ clinical and wellness services coordinator. “You can also tell at a glance the meaning of your numbers – if you’re in a normal, healthy range, or if there’s something to discuss with your health provider.”
On average, more than 100,000 blood pressure readings a month are taken at the company’s 84 stores. More than 800 people each month create a new private account to store their personal data, and about 900 people a month save the data from their visit to the Lifeclinic 500 unit.
“Knowing your numbers is the first step in taking charge of your health – and if they show your blood pressure or weight is above where it should be, you can take action and set goals,” Niles said. “Some people find that watching their numbers keeps them on track, so they can make corrections as needed. But it’s also important to celebrate milestones, and knowing your numbers helps you see improvements as you go along.”
Several years ago, Wegmans began encouraging employees to “know their numbers” as a way to help them enjoy healthier lives. The company installed the Lifeclinic self-testing stations in stores, offices and manufacturing areas. A 2009 study of the Lifeclinic units published in Postgraduate Medicine showed that when these stations were in the workplace, significant numbers of employees used them to keep blood pressure and weight on track, thus improving their odds of staying healthy.
“Just as we think this technology can help our own people make informed choices that are good for their health and well-being, we think it can help customers too, so that’s why it’s available to everyone in our stores,” Niles said.