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MinuteClinic, UMass Memorial Health Care ink clinical collaboration

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I., and WORCESTER, Mass. — CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic and UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest healthcare system in central and western Massachusetts and the clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, have entered into a clinical collaboration to enhance access to healthcare services in central Massachusetts.

The agreement is MinuteClinic’s first clinical collaboration with a healthcare system in Massachusetts. The collaboration includes MinuteClinic’s location inside the CVS/pharmacy store in Northborough and additional MinuteClinic openings anticipated in Central Massachusetts in 2012.

"UMass Memorial Health Care has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the health and well-being of patients in central Massachusetts and shares MinuteClinic’s mission to make access to high-quality healthcare services more accessible in the region," stated Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. "Since opening our first clinics in Massachusetts in 2008, we have continued to grow, and now have 31 clinics in the state, including nine new locations in 2011. We believe this affiliation will help us expand into other parts of the state as we look to open new locations in central Massachusetts."

Under the agreement, UMass Memorial Health Care physicians will serve as medical directors for MinuteClinic locations in central Massachusetts. In addition, MinuteClinic and UMass Memorial Health Care will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives, and will inform patients of the services each offers.

UMass Memorial Health Care is able to offer the full continuum of care for patients who need a level of care that is not provided at MinuteClinic. Signage at MinuteClinic locations will inform patients that each site has a clinical affiliation with UMass Memorial Health Care.

The two organizations will begin to work toward fully integrating their electronic medical record systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual’s care. With patient permission, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with other UMass Memorial Health Care locations in central Massachusetts. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours.

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute to develop smartphone application for patients with advanced diabetes, foot ulcers

BY Allison Cerra

WORCESTER, Mass. — An interdisciplinary research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is slated to develop a smartphone application that will help patients with advanced diabetes and foot ulcers.

WPI announced it received a $1.2 million award from the National Science Foundation to create the app, which will be wirelessly integrated with a personal glucose meter and scale and would track and archive blood-sugar levels and weight, as well as use the phone’s camera to capture and analyze images of foot ulcers, which are potentially dangerous complications that affect people with advanced, uncontrolled diabetes, WPI said.

The four-year project will be organized through WPI’s Healthcare Delivery Institute in collaboration with diabetes and wound care specialists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

"This is an ambitious project that we hope will create a useful tool for people who are dealing with advanced diabetes," said Diane Strong, one of the project’s leaders, who is a professor in WPI’s School of Business. "We appreciate the National Science Foundation’s support for our approach to combine technology development and clinical expertise into a unified team to address this challenge."


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Rite Aid to unveil 3-D holographic displays

BY Alaric DeArment

CHATSWORTH, Calif. — Rite Aid is planning to roll out 3-D holographic display kiosks in its stores next year, according to the kiosks’ manufacturer.

In a letter to shareholders, Provision Interactive Technologies president and CEO Curt Thornton wrote that it would place its 3-D Reward Centers in Rite Aid stores, starting with 200 stores and, according to the agreement between the two companies, eventually installing the kiosks in up to 4,800 stores. Rite Aid currently has 4,679 stores.

The kiosks include a display unit that shows 3-D images "’floating in space’ without the need for special glasses," which the company said appear so real that people standing within view feel compelled to reach out and touch them. Images are visible within a 60-degree range and can be projected more than four feet. The company’s "Air Touch" technology also allows for interactivity.

Previously, Provision had sold its displays on a per-unit basis, but its agreement with Rite Aid, as well as a similar agreement with the Circle K convenience store chain, allows it to collect advertising revenue.

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