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LifePics integrates with Walgreens QuickPrints technology

BY Michael Johnsen

BOULDER, Colo. — LifePics on Friday announced its integration with Walgreens QuickPrints technology, which will provide its customers greater access to order one-hour photo prints online, through mobile devices or from LifePics-integrated partners, for pick up at any Walgreens location. 

"With our more than 8,000 locations, we look forward to expanding printing options and services for this category," stated Jasbir Patel, senior director of photo, daily living and omnichannel for Walgreens.

To commemorate the integration, LifePics and Walgreens are offering customers 25% off their first order.

"LifePics is proud to add such a trusted name like Walgreens to our network of the premier photofinishers in the world," added Vahe Christianian, VP business development at LifePics. 

 

 

 

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Forecast: Increased download of mobile sports and fitness apps will feed demand for wearable health devices

BY Michael Johnsen

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Mobile apps used for sports and fitness activities are set to rise by 63% from 2012 to 2017 around the world, according to a report — “The World Market for Sports & Fitness Monitors–2013 Edition” — released Thursday by information and analytics provider IHS. The firm predicts that increased mobile app activity will generate strong potential demand for wearable health devices like heart-rate monitors.

Installations of sports and fitness apps, which are mainly used on smartphones, will grow to 248 million in 2017, up from 156 million in 2012, according to the report. While growth will slow from the nearly 40% climb of 2012, installations are still expected to expand robustly during the following years, with a 15% boost occurring this year and a 10% increase forecast to take place in 2014.

“Sports and fitness apps have become an integral part in the daily lives of millions of mobile users, allowing them to use their smartphones to do everything from tracking running distances, to recording their strength training sessions, to monitoring their heart rates,” stated Shane Walker, senior manager for consumer and digital health research at IHS. “An IHS consumer survey revealed that 62% of respondents interested in using sports and fitness apps also were prepared to purchase hardware that enhances the functionality of the software. For makers of sports and fitness sensors and monitoring and devices like HRMs, this means a built-in audience exists for products that can work with fitness apps.”

Global shipments of sports and fitness sensors and monitors are projected to total more than 250 million units during the next five years, according to IHS forecasts. The fitness monitor market encompasses a wide range of products, including HRMs, sports and running computers, outdoor-pursuit computers, cycle computers, activity monitors and pedometers.


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NCPA launches toolkit to help independents connect directly to employers, health payers

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Thursday announced the introduction of a resource kit — Take Charge of Rx Benefits in Your Community — to help preempt anti-patient drug benefit designs, such as those that require the use of mail-order facilities for prescription drugs.

The kit, which is free for NCPA members, can facilitate community pharmacist outreach to local employers, such as school districts and municipalities; offers tips about who to meet within those organizations to discuss common interests; and sets forth a procedure for local employers to receive objective advice from industry experts. 

“Concrete business solutions are one of the best ways to move the needle in achieving more desirable results,” stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. “While NCPA will continue to press for PBM reform at the federal level through bills such as the Medicare Prescription Drug Program Integrity and Transparency Act [S. 867], and work in concert with state pharmacy groups for local reform measures, the legislative and regulatory arena is not the only avenue for change," he continued. "That’s why we are helping to empower independent community pharmacy owners to be more proactive and effective in helping local health plan sponsors avoid PBM plan designs that are not transparent, lack flexibility and neither maximizes costs savings nor health outcomes. Take Charge of Rx Benefits in Your Community is the sort of multi-faceted toolkit that can make a difference.”

Take Charge of Rx Benefits in Your Community marks phase two of NCPA’s campaign to educate decision makers and consumers about the value of their prescription drug benefit. Last year NCPA launched whorunsmydrugplan.com, which features three award-winning videos called “The Third Wheel,” “Mail Order Madness” and “Fed Up With Phil.” They took a humorous look at the business practices of PBMs, embodied in each video by a character called Phil MyPockets. 

A new video “Phil MyPockets Mashup,” which includes bloopers and a recap of the previous three videos, was just added to the site to mark the one-year anniversary of this effort. All of these interactive communication vehicles can be used in conjunction with pharmacists’ outreach to employers. 


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