June 7, 2013

When did providing customer service become an inconvenience for some retail staff?" asks Hamacher Group's Dave Wendland. "Too often I have witnessed reluctance on the part of shoppers to seek help — and if they do, it almost always begins with, 'Sorry for interrupting, but …' Think about that. 'Sorry for interrupting' what?

May 30, 2013

Beauty trends are as much a reflection of the consumer's state of mind as they are a reflection of the technological innovations put forth by research-and-development teams at laboratories around the world. While consumers are not able to verbalize their expectations for the ideal product that will fulfill their needs, they are able to pinpoint gaps with their unmet needs through their purchasing patterns.

April 16, 2013

Does the Obama administration “get it” when it comes to pharmacy’s vital interests and lowering health care costs?

One sometimes wonders. As much as I like the president and many of his ideas and instincts, I’m sometimes stumped by some of the lesser-understood facets of the administration’s health policy, and by the seemingly contradictory sets of priorities promoted by that policy.

April 9, 2013

The new world of targeted, specialized medicines — many of them bioengineered and many of them aimed at smaller and smaller segments of the population — isn’t just on its way. It’s here. And it’s going to radically change the practice of pharmacy.

Here’s an eye-opener: Specialty drugs will likely account for 50% of all drug costs by 2018, up from 28.7% of total prescription drug costs in 2012.

April 2, 2013

These are the days of the empowered patient — the patient who asks questions, who wants to know about how to prevent the diseases that ailed their parents or how to live more successfully with the conditions they have, who seeks and finds health information from doctors, nurses, magazines and most especially from the teeming trove of online health sites.

March 26, 2013

It’s often the case that those in the midst of revolutionary times don’t really see how fundamentally the world around them is changing until long after the changes have occurred. So let’s start by declaring that the revolution has begun: Genomic research will dramatically transform both the practice of pharmacy and the way patients are treated with medications for many diseases.

The sequencing of the human genome was a huge scientific breakthrough, and it’s spawning additional breakthroughs as genetic testing labs spring up and the cost of testing individual patients for their ability to metabolize a particular drug drops to affordable levels for health plan payers.

March 19, 2013

Last week, I wrote about Medication Therapy Management and a new bill in the House of Representatives to expand the pool of patients who qualify for MTM programs through Medicare. This week, I’m writing about – wait for it – medication therapy management.

Why? Because MTM is important, vitally important, to the future of community pharmacy, and one of the key health and prevention services that will define the profession in the era of health reform and evidence-based health care.

March 12, 2013

A 12-to-1 return on investment. That’s what researchers in Minnesota estimated public and private health plan payers can get when they pay pharmacists to provide medication therapy management.

March 5, 2013

You might want to make a note of this. On paper. Despite all the hoopla surrounding electronically generated prescriptions, e-communications and digitized patient recordkeeping over the past decade, most doctors still prefer to write prescriptions the old fashioned way, by hand, scrawled on a prescription pad and handed to the patient.

That was the finding of a recent study of physicians’ prescribing habits by point-of-prescription advertising company MediScripts. The company, which by its own description “puts brand messages at the center of the prescriber-patient engagement,” found that handwritten scripts still outpace e-prescribing by more than 60%. Drug Store News’ Alaric DeArment described the findings in a report on Feb. 28.

January 28, 2013

Health care is evolving. As obvious of a statement as that is, it doesn’t change the fact that it is very real. Throughout last year, there was intense discussion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and what impact the outcome of the presidential election might have on its future. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled and elections are settled, healthcare companies and providers across the country are implementing strategies to meet ACA requirements.

January 18, 2013

This will be a big year for implementation of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, and the National Community Pharmacists Association will track the process closely on behalf of NCPA members and the patients they serve. NCPA recently submitted comments about the ACA’s Multi-State Plans, or MSPs, being designed by the Office of Personnel Management.

January 10, 2013

If you are like a lot of people, hanging a new calendar has inspired you to embrace new beginnings and experimentation. Every January morning begins with plans to put insights into action.

December 11, 2012

E-prescribing offers many well-known benefits to physicians, pharmacists and patients alike. Beyond the well-known patient benefits, real-time transactions with automated requests and responses promise to create efficiencies by speeding the medication ordering process, reducing or eliminating the back-and-forth communications between pharmacists and clinicians commonly associated with handwritten prescriptions.

November 29, 2012

The economy continues to be the single largest influencer in the growth of the health, beauty and wellness industry. The annual inflation rate has averaged just more than 2% during the past five years.

November 21, 2012

Each year, we say goodbye to the current year and welcome in the New Year full of hope and aspirations for a successful year ahead. Customers turn out in droves for “New Year, New You” specials and when they reach the register, the retail pharmacy world knows the scenario quite well.

November 5, 2012

Products often fail before they ever find their way to market. Because our firm reviews more than 2,500 new health, beauty and wellness products, and sees approximately 13,000 packaging changes and line extensions annually, I’ve seen this firsthand.

October 16, 2012

Emerging multidisciplinary healthcare models, such as accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes, promise to elevate quality and lower costs by harnessing the power of provider, payer and patient collaboration. Often overlooked in the coordinated care equation, however, is the integral role pharmacists can play in delivering efficient and effective care.

October 2, 2012

I was fortunate. I was born into a wonderful family. Each of my four siblings and I have certainly chosen individual paths, but it is amazing how interconnected we remain and how we can still rely on each other when necessary.

September 25, 2012

There is no doubt about it. Pharmacy audits can be time consuming and laborious for all parties involved. And as both government and commercial money gets tighter and tighter, all of health care is searching for the most effective means to manage the financial challenges associated with doing business.

August 24, 2012

This year’s Olympics coverage on NBC stood in stark contrast to the television network's failed attempt to offer expanded audience choice through their pay-per-view “Triplecast” in 1992. Remember that 20 years ago, NBC aired the Olympics through three pay-per-view channels? Their total number of subscribers, either for a one-day pass or any of the “gold,” “silver” or “bronze” packages probably couldn’t equal even the smallest service area for a major cable company.

August 14, 2012

You’ve seen the sign, probably early fall, posted right there on the marquee of the local pharmacy: “Most insurance accepted.” It means that when a patient stops by the pharmacy for a flu shot, the pharmacy can probably bill the health plan for the covered medical benefit.

July 23, 2012

Healthcare providers in today’s environment are committed to promoting patient safety while providing access to the most reliable and innovative treatments.

July 5, 2012

Remember when retail transactions were completed based only on the assortment found within the confines of a brick-and-mortar store? Truth is, we may never return to those days.

July 5, 2012

As states grapple with tight budgets, rising Medicaid costs and the anticipated expansion of Medicaid following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, policymakers should consider how community pharmacists can help reduce expenses. In addition, new evidence offers a fresh reminder of the perils of managed care in Medicaid and the need for proper oversight of managed care entities.