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McKesson kicks off ideaShare 2017 in New Orleans

BY David Salazar

NEW ORLEANS — McKesson ideaShare 2017 kicked off Thursday in the Big Easy, providing independent pharmacists a forum to discover new solutions and technology to grow their businesses and make them competitive. The annual conference and exhibition is set to offer attendees access to industry thought leadership, pharmacy programs, continuing education courses and networking opportunities to help improve their pharmacies’ performance.

“McKesson ideaShare is designed to help independent pharmacies evolve to meet industry challenges, improve their business performance and provide quality care for their patients. McKesson and Health Mart are pleased to drive innovation through continued investment in the business-building tools, clinical solutions, and technology being highlighted here,” said Mark Walchirk, president, McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical. “We encourage every independent pharmacist to maximize their time at McKesson ideaShare by putting these tangible ideas into action for immediate impact on their pharmacy.”

(For more coverage of McKesson ideaShare 2017, click here.)

As part of the conference, Health Mart will host its annual meeting this week, which Health Mart president Steve Courtman said would see the unveiling of significant enhancements to the independent pharmacy franchise’s myHealthMart platform, as well as new tools aimed at driving improvements in performance and store profitability.

“To remain competitive, independent pharmacies must run better businesses, which means they have to manage cash flow, improve efficiencies, expand margins, and attract more patients,” Courtman said. “We have invested heavily to help guide Health Mart members with education, tools and the implementation support they need to improve their pharmacy’s clinical and business performance.”

Since McKesson launched the myHealthMart, more than 80% of Health Mart stores use the platform to manage their business, 4,00 stores and more than 7,000 individual users implementing it to improve their clinical and business performance and profitability, McKesson said.

One of the key updates to myHealthMart is the iOS mobile app, which allows pharmacy owners to customize key performance metrics, view store performance and set goals for each measure. Another tool will help optimize purchasing by reviewing customized promotions and discounts, including generics and flu vaccine pre-orders. Additionally, the app allows users to manage inbound refills and send patients notifications when their prescription is ready.

The new app also features a DIR Estimator tool, which allows pharmacies to identify, track and plan direct and indirect remuneration fee amounts that are being withheld. McKesson also is introducing the Results Optimizer tool to myHealthMart, which recommends resources and tools pharmacies can use to make practical business changes. 

“The Results Optimizer differentiates Health Mart by providing access to the right tools at the right time for our stores,” Health Mart chief pharmacist Crystal Lennartz said. “The tool is designed to help customers develop a step-by-step growth plan, recommending action modules and support they need to maximize profits. We will be launching the first module on DIR fees here at McKesson ideaShare, with more modules to follow over the coming months.”

In addition to hosting the Health Mart Annual Meeting, McKesson will be showcasing its educational resources focused on helping pharmacies implement medication synchronization programs, which allow for improved efficiency and increased capacity to focus on patient care and such clinical services as medication therapy management and physician collaborations, which are another key focus at ideaShare 2017.

Health Mart is expanding its collaborative practice agreement program beyond immunizations, introducing customizable CPA templates to allow fore additional pharmacist services and facilitate payment terms for collaborative drug therapy management services. This comes at the same time Health Mart unveils new capabilities in its Physician Outreach Program, which will now feature new drug category information, showing pharmacies the top-prescribed medication categories among area physicians to make targeting easier, the company said.

It also will be launching several new digital marketing solutions for improving pharmacies’ online presences, including Digital Listings and a Reputation Management program. Additionally, Health Mart will be offering free marketing consultations at the ideaShare 2017 Marketing Hub to evaluate a pharmacy’s online presence to provide insights on what to improve on its website, social media and ability to be found online.

Also on display at ideaShare 2017 will be McKesson’s continued efforts to support independent pharmacies, including AccessHealth, which offers tools and solutions that can help pharmacies achieve improved performance scores and reduced DIR collection amounts. AccessHealth experts will be on hand in the ideaShare2017 exhibit hall.

McKesson’s RxOwnership is introducing the Women in Pharmacy Own It Program, which will focus on ownership, mentorship, leadership and work/life balance for women, as well as create a community of women helping women succeed, matching pharmacy owners with pharmacy students to empower pharmacy ownership. The annual Ownership Transfer Luncheon will feature industry experts in a panel.

McKesson Connect NextGen Ordering has been updated to improve ordering efficiency, the company said, adding that a new purchasing portal will feature real-time ordering suggestions and discount opportunities, as well as improved search capabilities. And McKesson Pharmacy Technology and Services will present offerings from McKesson Pharmacy Services, Macro Helix and Supplylogix.

The MPTS team will be conducting live podcasts with new and existing customers that will be broadcast as part of the “Pharmacy Podcast” during and after ideaShare 2017.
 

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Kroger taps ALDI executive to lead discount grocery division

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Wednesday named Liz Ferneding to Ruler division president, effective July 31. Ferneding succeeds Paul Bowen, who retired in May.

"Liz's extensive grocery retail experience in procurement, marketing, advertising, management and operations will be an asset to our Ruler associates, customers and community," stated Rodney McMullen, Kroger chairman and CEO. "We have a lot of respect for the Ruler format and the customer it serves. Liz's talent and insights will help us sharpen our value-centric, small-format store."

Ferneding is a graduate of the Farmer School of Business at Miami University and joins Kroger from ALDI, where she has served in a variety of leadership roles for the last 11 years, including an international assignment in Australia. Upon her return to the U.S., Ferneding was promoted to marketing director and then earlier this year, she was promoted to director of corporate buying.

The Ruler division is headquartered in Seymour, Indiana, with 48 stores operating in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Ruler stores, which average 19,000 square feet, offer low prices and an expansive selection of Our Brands foods. Ruler will open two new stores later this year.

"I'm excited to join the Ruler team to help further develop the format, grow the brand and enhance customer engagement," Ferneding said. "I have admired the Kroger Co. both as a consumer and a competitor and have looked to the company throughout my tenure in the industry as a benchmark in grocery retail."

 

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Bartell Drugs adds 3 board members

BY David Salazar

SEATTLE — Bartell Drugs has announced three the addition of three new members to its board of directors. The new additions — Kathy Gersch, Marck Schwartz and Kristi Marchbanks — have experience with online and brick-and-mortar retail, as well as work on other companies’ boards.

Gersch, former VP, chief marketing officer and GM of drugstore.com, has experience in leading the transformation of companies around the world in such sectors as healthcare, CPG, retail, energy and aerospace through her company Kotter International. She also has experience as an independent consultant and has previously served as VP finance, strategic planning and administration for Nordstrom Product Group and VP at Façconable International.

Schwartz possesses more than 20 years of c-suite experience and has been a board member of such companies as Starbucks. He advises the CEOs of 18 portfolio companies in the food, technology, healthcare and manufacturing spaces as an investor. He is the co-founder of grocery retailer Bodega Latina (El Super).

Marchbanks has worked in both the start-up and Fortune 500 business spaces, and has experience as a board member and corporate strategy executive. In her career, she has started new companies, launched products and scaled businesses by accelerating revenue growth, and was among the first to commercialize big data, cloud computing and software-as-a-service.

“We are delighted to add these three very talented outside directors to our Board,” vice chairman and treasurer Jean Bartell Barber said. “I anticipate that they will provide significant strategic guidance to our company.”

Alongside Bartell Barber, George Bartell, who is continuing in his role as chairman, is representing the Bartell family. Non-family board members are Shelley Milano, currently general counsel at retailer L Brands; Bill Brakken, former CFO of Lanoga Corporation; and Frank Segrave, formerly SVP at Cardinal Health, VP Pharmacy at Walmart, and currently founder and CEO of Silvergate Pharmaceuticals.

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