PHARMACY

Lancaster General Health opens retail health clinics

BY Antoinette Alexander

LANCASTER, Pa. Lancaster General Health, a regional healthcare system, recently opened two retail clinics at Walmart supercenters in Pennsylvania, with a third slated to open in June in a Giant food store.

The first retail location, known as Lancaster General Health WellCare Express, opened on April 26 at the Walmart Supercenter in Parkesburg. The second WellCare Express location opened on May 10 at the Walmart supercenter in Lancaster. On June 14, a third WellCare Express clinic will open in Giant Food in Lititz.

 

WellCare Express locations are staffed by Lancaster General Health nurse practitioners and treat common ailments like sinus infections, earaches, rashes and strep throat. For more serious conditions, patients can seek medical care at the Lancaster General Health Urgent Care opening on June 1 in Lancaster.

 

"Our expansion into medical retail and urgent care increases our community’s access to care and helps physicians who can refer their patients for medical treatment after office hours and on weekends," stated Kent Carr, MD, LGMG SVP of physician services. "WellCare Express and Urgent Care are less costly and more convenient than receiving care for common illnesses and less serious injuries than going to the emergency department."

 

According to Lancaster General Health’s research, of the 1,000 patients and area residents surveyed, 61% saw a need for retail locations in their community, with 25% very likely to use if available. Other studies confirm that retail locations proved more convenient, less costly and provide care of equal quality.

 

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Walgreens puts hold on its plan to sell genetic test kits in stores

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Apparently having second thoughts on a deal that would have put genetic testing kits up for sale in its stores, Walgreens said Thursday it would delay any move to offer the products until questions posed by the Food and Drug Administration about the product are resolved.

Those questions arose following published reports that Pathway Genomics would begin selling its genetic test kits in most Walgreens stores this week. The reports triggered new scrutiny from the FDA, which indicated this week that it has no record of having approved the kits for sale.

The federal agency – which may be adopting a more assertive stance to product reviews and approvals under commissioner Margaret Hamburg – told Reuters news service that it would “take a hard look at any claims made by the company.”

Both Walgreens and Pathway asserted earlier this week that FDA approval is not needed for the sale of test kits in a retail setting. But FDA spokesperson Erica Jefferson told Reuters on Tuesday, “If a company is making claims about a product that hasn’t been reviewed or validated by FDA, we want to make sure the information to consumers is accurate and the test will do what it says it will do.”

In response, Walgreens reversed course. The company said Thursday has shelved, for now, its plan to go ahead with a rapid rollout of the kits.

“In light of the FDA contacting Pathway Genomics about its genetic test kit and anticipated ongoing discussions between the two parties, we’ve elected not to move forward with offering the Pathway product to our customers until we have further clarity on this matter,” said Walgreens spokesman Jim Cohn.

The tests are saliva-based, and are intended to assess via DNA analysis patients’ genetic markers for such potential conditions as diabetes and cancer.

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Mayo Clinic Health Manager seeks to organize personal medical information

BY Alaric DeArment

REDMOND, Wash. Managing a health condition can be difficult enough, but organizing personal medical information can be even more time-consuming, according to a study commissioned by the Mayo Clinic and Microsoft, which operates the online resource HealthVault. The two have developed the Mayo Clinic Health Manager, a HealthVault application that helps people organize health information.

 

The study was the result of a survey of 1,065 adults conducted by Opinion Research Corp. in April. Nearly one-third of respondents said they spent more time keeping information organized than finding answers to health questions or dealing with chronic conditions.

 

 

At the same time, almost half said they regularly left doctor’s offices without asking an important medical question or giving the physician crucial information affecting their health, while 9-in-10 had reported doing so in the past.

 

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