SALT LAKE CITY and RALEIGH, N.C. — As health-related links and applications for smart phone users explode in popularity, Kerr Drug now is offering seniors and their caregivers a simple way to get immediate help in an emergency. The chain has begun offering a new rapid-response and health service system to seniors via a one-touch cell phone link.
The product, from ActiveCare, now is available in most of the Raleigh, N.C.-based drug chain’s stores, according to both companies. Kerr VP marketing Diane Eliezer said the chain offers the device in stand-alone merchandisers near the pharmacy counters at its roughly 90 stores and retail health centers in North Carolina.
The new product, called the ActiveOne PAL, or Personal Assistance Link, was test marketed for six months before its introduction this month in Kerr’s stores, said James Dalton, ActiveCare chairman and CEO. Interactive displays are set up near the pharmacy or clinic waiting areas, so independent living seniors and their caregivers can test the service while they fill prescriptions or shop for healthcare supplies. On displays, ActiveCare bills the PAL as “the caregiver that never leaves your side.”
Kerr is the first drug chain to offer the product, according to ActiveCare. Dalton called it “the culmination of several years of work and development, and the result of [more than] 18 patents.” He said the rollout “is the first of many programs that will be launched in the following months.”
ActiveCare’s services are provided through the PAL handset, which doubles as a cell phone. The device features one-button service; when activated, a live operator greets each caller by name, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Dalton called the individual care provided by operators “the core of our business,” and said the goal is “to provide products and services that keep members active, independent and living in their own home for an additional one to five years.”
Through its alliance with Kerr, the company also will provide other pharmacy-related services to members, including prescription refill reminders and savings on home health supplies. “
ActiveCare presented us a great opportunity to offer a superior caregiver service to our customers,” said Bill Baxley, Kerr’s SVP merchandising and marketing. “The Kerr Drug/ActiveCare service will offer our aging customers and their caregivers exceptional, caring assistance with daily living needs and emergency response services at a fraction of the cost of traditional in-home care or assisted living.”
ActiveCare, Dalton said, is “continuing to develop and integrate new technologies that better care for our members, including alarm, sensor, health and smart home technologies that we can provide to members today.” The company, he predicted loftily, “will truly revolutionize the industry and redefine what it means to age in place.”