Winn-Dixie connects consumers with health information, education

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Drug Store News. It’s an opportunity to bridge the gap between what the doctor is telling the patients on how to best manage their eating habits in pursuit of better health, and what’s actually being placed into those shopping carts.—For Winn-Dixie, you can say that the role of supermarket pharmacy is to keep patients from falling into the gap that exists between the doctor’s office and everyday healthy living, John Fegan, VP pharmacy at Winn-Dixie, told

“I’m a firm believer that the services we offer in our pharmacies are going to be as valuable, or more valuable, as the products,” he said.

One example: Winn-Dixie recently rolled out its WD RxConnect program to its patients. WD RxConnect not only links all of Winn-Dixie’s more than 400 pharmacies through a centralized prescription record system, it also allows patients to access their own records online. “That’s kind of unique in the food store industry,” Fegan said. “Under the WD RxConnect program, a patient can walk in and look up [his or her] medication history online and see what they’re taking,” he said. That medication profile, which includes notable side effects associated with patients’ medications, or possible drug-drug interactions, can help patients manage their health regimens on their own.

The new system also can give Winn-Dixie patients peace of mind that they are, in fact, taking what their doctors prescribed. “They can look to see what their medication is supposed to look like—the tablets, capsules, etc.,” Fegan said.

That little piece of information may become more important as time goes on, especially as the business of generic pharmaceuticals continues to grow. “When we fill those prescriptions with a different color tablet [than what the patient has been getting], the pharmacist notifies the patient,” Fegan said. “But sometimes, patients are a little forgetful, and they get home and look in their medicine cabinet and they see a white tablet versus the one they just had filled, which is purple. With WD Rx-Connect, they can go online [and see] the purple tablet,” he said. “The pharmacy system [automatically] makes the switch to show the product that was dispensed, so it assures the patients that they do have the right [medicine] in their hands.”

In addition to managing their prescriptions online, Winn-Dixie patients also can use the system to print out a wallet-sized card with all of the information around their prescriptions. For parents, they can set up a profile for their children on WD RxConnect. And for seniors, they can afford access to their own profile to their caregivers.

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Winn-Dixie has a comprehensive medication therapy management program in place as well, where trained pharmacists partner with local general practitioners to counsel patients around the importance of taking their medications. “One of the biggest challenges within pharmacy right now is the fact that people aren’t compliant with their medication,” Fegan said.

“We are one of the leaders in the follow-up and the execution of these MTM programs,” Fegan said, citing what one local insurer told him. Currently, Winn-Dixie provides MTM services around diabetes, women’s health and arthritis, with plans to expand to other medical conditions in the near future.

Beyond pharmaceuticals and food, Winn-Dixie hosts several health testing services and immunization opportunities in all of its pharmacies throughout the year. The goal is for each pharmacy to host at least one event per quarter, such as free diabetes screenings or free cholesterol screenings.

For flu season, Winn-Dixie fields more than 425 immunizers across its 400 pharmacies. And those pharmacists specially trained in administering vaccines aren’t just giving flu shots, be it seasonal or H1N1 this year, Fegan said. There’s also pneumococcal vaccinations, Zostavax for shingles and meningococcal vaccine for college-age students.

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