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KEY LEARNING: Continuing Ed sessions prove successful

BY Antoinette Alexander

LAS VEGAS — Continuing education sessions maintained their strong momentum Friday at McKesson ideaShare 2013 as attendees woke bright and early to attend courses and learn about a variety of important industry-related topics.

Friday’s educational sessions included —

  • Improving Adherence to Impact Practice: There’s no doubt that adherence to medications is critically important as it impacts patient outcomes and healthcare costs. Looking to address this topic, this session addressed common adherence tools such as education strategies, packaging and refill reminders. During the course, speaker CoraLynn B. Trewet, associate professor (clinical) at the University of Iowa, also talked about ways pharmacists and technicians can determine a process for improving adherence in their patients. For example, Trewet suggested that pharmacists “Take the SIDE of their patients.” SIDE is an acronym that stands for Simplify, Investigate, Discuss and Engage. Simplify the number of medications and doses; investigate by using adherence tools and involving interdisciplinary team members; discuss and build a relationship of trust with the patient; and engage or motivate them to change.
  • Legislative and Regulatory Update 2013: During this discussion, attendees were provided an update on recent government policy decisions, including how new laws and regulations will impact the practice of pharmacy. For example, the session addressed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 provision to pay retail pharmacies the national mail-order competitive bid rate for diabetic strips and discussed the timeline for the California drug pedigree requirements for pharmacies.

    “It is tough that, as an independent pharmacy provider, we are not able deliver the strips to our patients who are either unable or unwilling to come get strips, but they need them,” said attendee Gina Moser of Cooke’s Pharmacy in Cleveland, Tenn. “My heart is in pharmacy and helping people. Not being able to provide that service is the most difficult part of this legislation that has come down from [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services].”

  • The U.S. Pharmaceutical Market: Looking Back and Looking Ahead: This course addressed the reasons for the decline in the U.S. pharmaceutical dollar market in 2012 and ways in which retail pharmacy can keep hold of their market share by exploring emerging market opportunities with specialty and generic drugs.
  • The Art and Science of Weight Loss: Striving to arm pharmacists with important knowledge and tools to work with patients on their weight-loss goals, this application-based activity provided attendees with such information as emerging drug therapy options, key recommendations and updates since the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute guidelines were released in 1998. Attendee Michael Ilodigwe of Docs in Pharmacy in Charlotte, N.C., said the session helped him better understand the differences between Body Mass Index (BMI) and being obese versus being overweight. “Often patients … haven’t gone through any lifestyle modifications so it is important to use lifestyle modifications in addition to medications, otherwise, it will not work,” said Ilodigwe. “… It was quite helpful.”

The continuing education at McKesson ideaShare 2013 is provided by the Collaborative Education Institute. The Collaborative Education Institute is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing education.

 

 

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Health Mart’s Annual Meeting filled with optimism, encouragement at McKesson ideaShare 2013

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS — The pharmacy retail landscape may be growing increasingly competitive but independent pharmacy has an advantage — it’s in the sweet spot of providing quality patient care and personalized customer service, which independent pharmacy know how to do very well. That was a key message that new Health Mart president Steve Courtman had for attendees of the Health Mart Annual Meeting on Friday at McKesson ideaShare 2013.

“It’s a tough marketplace, but I firmly believe we can win together,” Courtman told the Health Mart owners who filled the conference room.

A major threat to independents is the increasing shift to preferred and performance-based pharmacy networks, Courtman noted, but that’s only if McKesson’s Health Mart owners are not a part of those networks. The key that will make Health Mart a continued success is harnessing McKesson’s scale and coupling that with each of the 3,100 Health Mart owner’s strong local presence to demonstrate that Health Mart is a destination for quality care.

But there’s a difference between saying and doing — and it was the doing that took center stage.

First, Courtman, who was appointed president in September 2012, helped redefine the landscape for independent operators.

Health Mart owners need to market their services aggressively in their local communities, Courtman said, “If we’re going to differentiate ourselves on care, we need to get the message out there and physicians are a very important stakeholder,” he said. “If you think about the transition of health care, the physician should be your payor. … If you look at an [Accountable Care Organization] world and you look at value-based reimbursement, physicians will be the ones making decisions,” he added.

“Our business is prescriptions and patients,” he added. So the strategy looking ahead is to help focus Health Mart owners on their business by growing prescriptions in the stores, leveraging local relationships and differentiating on care, both from a service-level perspective and as a clinical health savings component.

Chuck Wilson, VP Health Mart pharmacy operations, followed Courtman with strategies on how to grow that prescription base through adherence. Not only will a focus on adherence drive more dollars into the store — to the tune of $750 per patient per year — it will also help illustrate to health plans that independent pharmacists are ideal partners to provide quality care and help lower healthcare costs.

For example, Wilson walked Health Mart owners through each of the tools that are at their disposal — medication synchronization, medication therapy management, participation in the Sponsored Clinical Services network and behavioral coaching, pharmacy management software and new packaging solutions — to begin making a material impact on adherence today.

Wilson also walked owners through Health Mart’s new store design that increases the visibility of the pharmacist, simplifies operations and work flow and incorporates a private consultation room so pharmacists can engage their patients in more adherence counseling and clinical consultation services.

Elizabeth Estes, EVP, chief strategy officer at GA Communication, also suggested that Health Mart owners up their game when it comes to weaving social media into their pharmacy practice.

“The thing about social media, it’s not a zero sum game,” Estes told attendees. “It’s an extension of what you do,” she said. And with 74% of baby boomers today reporting that they use social media to help inform major buying decisions, social media will become a significant marketing tool when those boomers begin researching their health options.

 

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Health Mart owners armed for success with new programs, tools unveiled at McKesson ideaShare 2013

BY Antoinette Alexander

Being successful is, in large part, all about having the right tools and resources. Looking to help Health Mart members run a better business, achieve better results for patients, and create a better future for community pharmacy, Health Mart unveiled a host of new programs and offerings during McKesson ideaShare 2013.

 

“McKesson ideaShare is the ideal forum for Health Mart members to access industry thought leaders, the latest pharmacy solutions, Continuing Education courses, and networking events all focused on helping them achieve better pharmacy health,” said Steve Courtman, president, Health Mart. “With the changing dynamics in the industry, it’s important that community pharmacy look for ways to build scale and strengthen their relationships with other healthcare players. By coming together under the Health Mart brand, member pharmacies are collectively elevating the profile of community pharmacy across the nation.”

Local Marketing Support: Health Mart previewed its new Local Marketing Support program, which is designed to put marketing funds and new tools directly into members’ hands so it is easier for them to attract new patients and drive revenue. Tools and resources available through the program include:

  • The Marketing Hub: Replacing the Marketing Tool Kit, the new Marketing Hub provides Health Mart stores with a variety of resources to promote their pharmacy. Owners can choose to purchase a timesaving integrated campaign or select their own tactics from a catalog of more than 100 traditional, digital and social media marketing tools. The marketing tools have been updated and consumer-tested, including promotions, email templates, social media content and “do it for me” TV, radio, community outreach and PR. Sample marketing templates are available at the Local Marketing Support booth on the show floor.
  • Flexible matching funds: Owners can now use flexible matching funds for any tactic or campaign on the Marketing Hub (except store décor and promotional items). To simplify the ordering process, the matching funds are immediately applied when campaigns are ordered on the Marketing Hub.
  • Local marketing coordinators: Health Mart marketing coordinators are available by phone or email to help owners utilize the Marketing Hub resources and to support the execution of campaigns. McKesson ideaShare attendees can meet with marketing experts at the Local Marketing Support booth to receive a personalized marketing consultation.

Additional tools and resources launched at McKesson ideaShare include:

The Mobile App for Your Pharmacy Online: Health Mart previewed a mobile application, the newest component of the Your Pharmacy Online consumer-facing pharmacy website. Available this fall, the mobile app will give patients more on-the-go prescription management options, including placing refill requests, receiving reminders or learning about in-store promotions. The new communication tool can help improve patient adherence and drive positive health outcomes, while increasing prescription volume. Demonstrations of the new app are being provided to attendees at the Your Pharmacy Online booth on the show floor.

New Tools to Maximize the Adherence: Health Mart provided attendees with information on new adherence opportunities available to retail pharmacies, such as medication therapy management, behavioral coaching and more.

New Store Design: With the guidance of retail experience experts, Health Mart has updated its store design and décor to help create a shopper-friendly atmosphere with easier access to the pharmacist. McKesson ideaShare attendees can take a tour of a demonstration store on the show floor.

With more than 3,100 stores, Health Mart continues to see significant growth and Health Mart has ranked highest in customer satisfaction in J.D. Power & Associates US Pharmacy Study three out of the past four years.

 

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