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Game on: Clinics & chronic care

BY Rob Eder

This month Walgreens announced that it would begin to offer chronic care services at its Take Care Clinics. Its biggest competitor, MinuteClinic, made a similar announcement about a year ago. With full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the people paying the bills are going to get a good look at what retail clinics can do to lower costs and improve outcomes.

Some still worry that it will fragment primary care and interrupt continuity of care. Of course, that overlooks the countless clinical affiliations and partnerships that Take Care, MinuteClinic and others are forging with hospitals and healthcare systems all across the country, and the collaboration on electronic health records occurring between these organizations.

Much of the misinformation is fueled by small physician groups that have traditionally devalued the role of nurse practitioners, and who have fought for years to limit their scope of practice at the expense of the American healthcare system.

I don’t imagine that will continue.

Retail clinics getting into chronic care will improve adherence, reduce ER visits and re-hospitalizations, and help get the "medical homeless" back on the grid. And in an age of outcomes-based reimbursement, that’s really in everybody’s best interest. Game on.

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Retail execs act as Capitol Hill advocates

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of community pharmacy executives, pharmacy students and other pharmacy advocates representing 41,000 chain pharmacies took to Capitol Hill from March 13 to 14 for the 5th Annual NACDS RxImpact Day and conducted more than 400 meetings with U.S. senators and representatives. In support of the event, DSN published the third edition of its special RxImpact supplement. Sponsored by Upsher Smith, the special edition of DSN was distributed to members of Congress and is intended to educate lawmakers on the expanded role community pharmacy can play in healthcare reform.

For more photos, click here.

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Twitter, social media amplify RxImpact conversation

BY Antoinette Alexander

This year at the 5th Annual NACDS RxImpact Day, the voice of community pharmacy reached far beyond the office walls of U.S. senators and representatives as community pharmacy advocates — and even members of Congress — took to Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

"It definitely seemed that we had even better engagement in using Twitter at NACDS RxImpact this year than I think we’ve had at pretty much any other NACDS event," said Chris Krese, SVP marketing, communications and media relations for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

With about 50 tweets from 20 individuals, the rise in social media use during this year’s NACDS RxImpact was largely organic.

"Really, for the most part, we had completely unprompted involvement. … They were tweeting where they were and that they were about to get on the plane to come to advocate for pharmacy in Washington, D.C.," said Krese. "And I think the more people saw that other people were [tweeting], it just started to take on a life of its own."

Not only did Twitter activity among NACDS members experience an uptick, but there also was a rise in activity among chain pharmacy representatives.

"In prior years, the pharmacy students who were participating in the event were very active on Twitter. What we started to see even more this year is that some of the chain representatives who were advocating on Capitol Hill were more active on Twitter this year," Krese said.

Krese said that Facebook also experienced a good deal of activity as people responded to posted photos of the event, and NACDS also developed a Flickr photo feed to share photos of the meetings.

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