Beyond Google: Pharmacists and women’s health
In case you were wondering, Google won’t replace the community pharmacist as a trusted source for women’s health information, after all.
That, at least, will be one of the conclusions you’ll reach if you watch “Insights into Women’s Health,” a two-part series from DSNTV — Drug Store News’ online video offering — that aired in April (part 1) and early May (part 2). The program, sponsored by Insight Pharmaceuticals and ably hosted by DSN senior editor Antoinette Alexander, consisted of multiple on-the-spot interviews with women on the streets of Manhattan.
Alexander’s goal: To get a better sense of where women get their health information, particularly about women’s health issues, and what role pharmacy retailers can play to provide that information.
The women interviewed had plenty to say on the subject. It was clear they were passionate about the topic of health, well informed, and always on the lookout for trustworthy sources of information about women’s health issues. It was also clear that while the Internet is a huge source of information on health — Google searches are a common tool, and many of the respondents mentioned specific websites like the Mayo Clinic and WebMD as trusted sources of information — they’re no substitute for face-to-face counseling from a real, live pharmacist, preferably delivered in a semi-private setting within the pharmacy area.
That goes double for women’s issues. One woman said it would be helpful if, “at a drug store…there was someone there who knew more about that area,” and could speak about sensitive women’s health issues out of earshot of other customers. Another added that “the interactive kiosks or brochures” at a retail pharmacy “might not have the information you want, so just having a staff person on hand would be great.”
One woman told DSN she’d switch to another pharmacy “if I felt they were really informed and helpful and cared about their customers.
“Customer service is big, especially here in New York where we kind of get brushed off a lot,” continued that respondent. “Our health is so important that we want somebody who does care a little bit about what they’re doing.”
One woman praised CVS for providing written information on the shelves about proper care, diet and exercise related to diabetes. “And if the pharmacists…are more informed about things, that helps,” she added.
I always knew women were generally smarter than us guys about a lot of things. This video series also shows they’re far more engaged than most men about their health, and ready to shift their loyalty to pharmacies that are engaged and informed about women’s health concerns.
If you’re a practicing pharmacist or pharmacy intern, please share your thoughts. Is your own practice site or employer doing everything it can to engage women and give them more than they can get online?
Fitbit’s latest activity tracker syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.0-enabled devices
SAN FRANCISCO — Fitbit on Monday released the Fitbit Flex, the only activity tracking wristband on the market to sync wirelessly on-the-go via Bluetooth 4.0 to select iOS and Android devices. With Flex’s all-day wearable design and its all-new customizable online dashboard, users can seamlessly make fitness a part of their everyday lifestyle and check their stats from anywhere.
“Fitbit has worked hard to develop the most seamless, versatile and accurate activity trackers, and with the addition of Flex, we truly have a product line that fits any lifestyle," stated James Park, CEO Fitbit. "Utilizing the latest technology — including Bluetooth 4.0 for mobile devices — Fitbit has developed a wristband tracker that offers the elements our fans love in a brand new form factor.”
The new Fitbit Flex tracks steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned, as well as a new stat defined as active minutes. Active minutes track how many moderate-intensity cardio minutes a user has in a day. The Center for Disease Control recommends 150 of them each week. Flex’s bright LED indicator lights offer a visual display as the user reaches 20% increments of achieving a goal, such as walking 10,000 steps, while a vibrating notification indicates goals realized throughout the day. Flex also tracks how long and how well a user sleeps and offers a Silent Wake alarm that gently vibrates the user awake without waking their partner.
Flex syncs with Bluetooth 4.0, working automatically with select iOS and Android devices, including Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Note II, as well as the iPhone 4S and 5.
Retailing at a suggested $99.95, Fitbit Flex is available on Fitbit.com and at major U.S. retailers, the company stated.
Amber Pharmacy to stage grand opening of expanded headquarters in June
OMAHA, Neb. — Amid rapid growth over the last few years, Amber Pharmacy is more than doubling the size of its headquarters.
The specialty pharmacy company announced that it would stage a grand opening of the newly expanded headquarters on June 19. Originally situated on a two-acre campus at 10004 South 152nd St. in Omaha, Neb., the company acquired an adjoining two acres and built a new building, joining it to the original via a connecting hallway with photos showcasing the company’s history, adding 40,000 sq. ft. for a total of nearly 70,000, president Michael Agostino told Drug Store News, saying that the company grew by 55% last year and is trending at more than 30% this year.
"We just sort of saw what was in the pipeline coming up, and we decided it was time to grow," Agostino said.
The expanded headquarters will also house Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, the company’s specialty pharmacy venture with West Des Moines, Iowa-based supermarket chain Hy-Vee. The partnership has grown significantly since its launch three years ago, with Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions becoming the preferred specialty pharmacy for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa in October 2011.
Agostino touted the convenience of the model, saying it had grown in popularity with working-class patients. "They’re picking up sundries, milk and produce, and their average-$3,000 prescription is waiting for them in the pharmacy, and they can just pick it up on the way home," he said, adding that the partnership with Wellmark had allowed Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions to maintain relationships between pharmacists and their patients.
Like this story? Find us on Facebook for more insight, analysis and the latest in drug store news. Join the conversation.