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Diversity expands beyond typical definition

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Diversity in the corporate sense used to be about hiring. Now for such companies as Walgreens, it means ensuring that the banner resonates among the diverse cultures the retailer serves. It’s more than neighborhood marketing; it’s what Walgreens might refer to as Customer Centric Retailing on a much deeper level.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens names first-ever chief diversity officer. For the full story, click here.)

It’s about getting closer to the community.

An example of that neighborhood resonance is the urban desert stores, where fresh food is being beefed up among ethnically diverse urban communities with no nearby supermarkets.

It started a couple of years ago when the company moved all 29 of its vice presidents of operations out of Deerfield and into the areas they oversee — to go be a part of the community.

It continues in the inner cities, where Walgreens’ urban desert stores, with their beefed-up fresh food offerings, are helping to fill the supermarket void. In pharmacy, it means looking at different chronic diseases that disproportionately affect certain ethnic groups and developing specialized disease state management programs for such conditions as diabetes that are resonate and are culturally relevant to the patient.

Pemberton will play a key role in these types of initiatives, and you can expect more because Walgreens has a goal to be “My Walgreens” to each one of its customers. That kind of relationship demands diversity.

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Paying attention to WMT store size experiments

BY Mike Troy

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Walmart opened its first Express stores earlier this month to mixed reviews about the impact of the new format on the company domestic growth. At 15,000 sq. ft., Walmart opened the first Express location in Gentry, Ark., last week, but offered media and investment analysts a preview of the store prior to the company’s shareholders meeting on June 3.

(THE NEWS: Walmart Express makes debut. For the full story, click here.)

The store is a no-frills affair with bare concrete floors and an open rafter ceiling, and the merchandise mix is heavily oriented toward food, along with an emphasis on Walmart’s Site-to-Store service where it ships merchandise ordered online to stores for free. The jury is out on the format’s potential impact on pharmacy; the location in Gentry, which is about a 30-minute drive southwest of Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, contains a pharmacy, but another test location further south in the community of Prairie Grove does not. Both communities are quite small with only a few thousand residents and pharmacy competition limited to independents.

Judging from the location of the first Walmart Express stores, the competitors likely to feel the greatest impact are Dollar General and the 21-unit regional grocery chain Marvin’s food stores. Both have locations near the Walmart Express stores and surely will experience a loss of shopper traffic and sales as residents of Gentry and Prairie Grove check out Walmart’s newest concept.

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Bringing providers together in the name of improved patient care, access

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The news that MinuteClinic has formed clinical affiliations with OhioHealth and Cleveland Clinic Florida is important because it further signifies that retail-based clinics are more than just clinics.

(THE NEWS: MinuteClinic, OhioHealth enter strategic clinical affiliation. For the full story, click here.)

(THE NEWS: MinuteClinic to collaborate with Cleveland Clinic Florida. For the full story, click here.)

Under the agreement, physicians affiliated with OhioHealth will serve as medical directors for MinuteClinic locations in central Ohio. In addition, MinuteClinic and OhioHealth will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services provided by each organization.

Under the partnership with Cleveland Clinic Florida, family physicians will serve as medical directors for 12 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics inside select CVS/pharmacy stores from Palm Beach to Broward counties in Florida. In addition, MinuteClinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives.

Meanwhile, Walgreens’ Take Care Health Systems announced this past week that it has formed a new relationship with Memorial Health that will increase opportunities for clinical collaboration and improve patient access to healthcare options in the greater Jacksonville, Fla., region.

Through that relationship, Memorial Health-affiliated physician practices will share information on Take Care Clinics and other healthcare options when their locations are closed or they are unable to schedule an appointment within a patient’s desired time frame. Professionals at Memorial Health-affiliated practices will have access to information on Take Care Clinic locations, evening and weekend hours and services available to patients and their families.

Meanwhile, Walgreens also is now collaborating with Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group of Chicago whereby primary care providers will collaborate with Walgreens pharmacists to improve patient health. The program currently focuses on those patients with hypertension, diabetes, asthma and hyperlipidemia. Patients with these chronic disease states will receive point-of-care counseling or an intervention as part of the integrated services offered, and Information from interventions will be provided to each patient’s primary care physician.

All of these deals have one thing in common: They bring providers together in the name of better patient care and improved access.

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