HEALTH

Colonial Life: Three healthcare trends that can impact retail pharmacy in 2012

BY Michael Johnsen

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Colonial Life and Accident Insurance last week released its top five trends and predictions for health care in 2012 — three of which may have some direct impact on retail pharmacy.

Wellness programs will become more prevalent as a way for employers to control healthcare costs and increase productivity and retention, Colonial Life stated. "With no let-up in sight for rising healthcare costs, employers are increasingly seeing the value of workplace wellness programs as a way to control premium increases and claims costs. Ranging from health screening tools to online nurse services, wellness-related offerings will become a bigger part of benefits providers’ value-added services," the company said.

However, the key to seeing a true bottom-line benefit may be as much about employee awareness and engagement as it is about the actual service, Colonial Life noted. "Good communication about wellness programs is essential for them to be effective," Colonial Life assistant VP marketing analysis and programs Steve Bygott said. "Without a focused effort to ensure employees understand the program and its value to them, participation tends to be low."

Healthcare technology also will play a greater role in health care, as employees will have more options for decision-support tools using online technology. "As employers continue to push benefits decision-making responsibility to their employees, look for a proliferation of web sites and interactive tools to help them understand different types of coverage and which ones meet their unique needs," the insurer stated.

And government sector employers in particular will focus on cost containment measures for their benefits plans. "Government employers are strongly feeling the effects of several years of reduced tax revenues, and now find themselves in the unfamiliar position of being forced to reduce benefits or raise their employees’ share of the costs," Colonial Life said. "A recent survey of public sector human resources managers showed 80% of them are looking at ways to reduce the cost of their employee benefits plans, and 58% said controlling costs is their top priority for their benefits programs."


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C.NAHABEDIAN says:
Nov-14-2011 09:08 pm

A generic solution that comprises many of the aforementioned trends and promises the needed benefits are UNMANNED MICRO CLINICs. Government, Insurance companies and retail establishments should be embracing such solutions to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

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SoloHealth awarded Intel Innovation Award for healthcare kiosk

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — SoloHealth on Friday announced the company was awarded with Intel’s information technology healthcare award, the “Intel Innovation Award,” during the 2011 Health IT Leadership Summit that took place earlier this week in Atlanta.

SoloHealth was recognized for its next-generation health-and-wellness kiosk, the SoloHealth Station. “It was a very tough decision for the judges, as all four finalists were extremely qualified and deserving,” stated Jared Quoyeser, director of healthcare marketing for Intel Americas. “But ultimately our panel of judges selected SoloHealth because of its unique and impactful SoloHealth Station platform, which offers a solution that most efficiently and effectively helps combat the issues and problems facing our health delivery process, as well as access and engagement for consumers, medical professionals, businesses and our entire healthcare system.”

Currently in select U.S. test markets and retail locations, SoloHealth’s next-generation, comprehensive SoloHealth Station provides screenings for vision, blood pressure, weight and body mass index, and an overall health assessment free of charge. SoloHealth also partners with local health systems and physicians in each market and connects consumers to a database of local professionals, helping to facilitate people into action. The company plans to provide highly personalized and interactive healthcare opportunities for consumers, advertisers and retailers by placing kiosks in high-traffic retail locations.

A cloud-based platform, the SoloHealth Station will provide users with a multiplatform ecosystem to access and interact with data through the kiosks at retail locations, online/digital, mobile and emerging platforms.

 


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CDC: 7-in-10 smokers want to quit; half have tried in past year

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Most American adults who smoke wish they could quit, and more than half have tried within the past year, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday.

As many as 68.8% of current American adult smokers reported they want to quit and 52.4% of adult smokers tried to quit within the past year. Less than half (48.3%) of smokers who saw a health professional in the past year recalled getting advice to quit and 31.7% used counseling and/or medications in the past year. The use of these effective treatments can almost double to triple rates of successfully quitting.

“Smokers who try to quit can double or triple their chances by getting counseling, medicine, or both," CDC director Thomas Frieden said. "Other measures of increasing the likelihood that smokers will quit as they want to include hard-hitting media campaigns, 100% smoke-free policies and higher tobacco prices.”

The analysis is in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report is being published in conjunction with the annual Great American Smokeout, observed this year on Nov. 17. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the smokeout encourages smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.

According to the report, making healthcare settings, as well as all workplaces and public places smoke-free, offers smokers additional encouragement to help them quit. The report also noted the healthcare industry can increase successful quit attempts by providing comprehensive insurance coverage with no deductibles or co-payments for cessation treatments and services.

Smokers can get free resources and help quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) or visiting SmokeFree.gov.


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