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More than a dozen health information exchanges, service providers join Surescripts

BY Alaric DeArment

ARLINGTON, Va. — Electronic prescribing network Surescripts has added 19 state health information exchanges and health information service providers to its network, the company said.

These include entities in Maryland, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, New York, Tennessee and others.

"We are undergoing a significant shift from a volume- to value-based healthcare system, and our business is evolving to meet the future needs of the entire healthcare ecosystem," Surescripts president and CEO Harry Totonis said. "The continued growth of the Surescripts network is driven by the fact that the healthcare communities are realizing that electronic health information exchange is necessary to transform the way health care is delivered at the patient level and the increasingly rapid implementation of the federal government’s meaningful use guidelines."

Surescripts said the new connections would complement its national reach and facilitate care coordination at the community level. For example, with the addition of HealtheConnections, HEALTHeLink and Rochester RHIO, most of upstate New York is now connected, and the network has significantly increased its clinical interoperability reach in Michigan.

"Michigan is an early adoptor of electronic health information sharing," Michigan Health Information Network associate director Jeff Livesay said. "The Surescripts network helps us break down technical barriers and provides a secure and reliable solution to maintain continuity of care across healthcare providers and organizations in our state and beyond. We are excited to be part of this innovative network."

The company noted that it is a founding member of an independent nonprofit group with the mission to develop and promote rules and best practices around security and trust in an electronic health information exchange called DirectTrust, and many of the exchanges joining Surescripts’ network are members as well. The company said its new connections would facilitate seamless, cost-effective health information sharing across local and regional care communities.


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Hot GM and consumables products at NACDS Total Store Expo 2013

BY Alaric DeArment

NACDS is hosting the inaugural Total Store Expo conference in Las Vegas from August 10 to 13. Below are some of our editors’ picks of the hot GM and consumable products at the show.

Ch-ch-ch-Chia Seeds

Everybody knows the familiar “Ch-ch-ch-Chia” jingle from the Chia Pet commercials, not to mention special-edition Chia Pets in the likeness of such people as Barack Obama — and now Willie Robertson from TV’s “Duck Dynasty” — but Joseph Enterprises, the company behind Chia, has introduced edible Chia Seeds. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, the seeds are designed for use in baking, yogurt or eating after adding water. The healthy food fits well with Joseph Enterprises’ business model — it has been marketing the seeds for decades in its Chia Pet kits — particularly as it seeks to drive foot traffic in stores. “We advertise our products nationally, creating a consumer demand, and then we advertise them to the retailer, so we help create store traffic,” Joseph Enterprises’ Joseph Pedott told DSN.

Pet Head Pretty Kitty Deshedding Wipes

Pet Head — started by Bed Head creator Kyara Mascolo, and then spun off when Unilever bought the brand — has launched a new line for cats that includes a mousse cleaner that doesn’t require rinsing, deshedding wipes, a spray-on and wipe-off “dry clean,” and shampoo and conditioner designed to reduce shedding. Other new products include fragrance sprays for dogs, as well as a dry shampoo. “We’re seeing dogs and cats are the new kids, so we’re producing products made in the United States to escalate the experience between the pet and the owner,” Pet Head marketing and product development executive Andrea Garcia told DSN.

Little Crunchies

Fresh off the heels of its launch of a buttered sweet corn flavor, and as it prepares for a September launch of a grape flavor, Crunchies is partnering with Warner Bros. to market Little Crunchies, which are aimed at getting kids to eat healthy. The terms of the deal are confidential, but Crunchies president and CEO Jim Lacey told DSN that it was “multi-year” and would include promotions tied in with movies and other entertainment — “wherever there’s a good fit” — and a social media and web marketing campaign. Packaging for the line will feature various Looney Tunes characters.

Doggie Deodorant

With more baby boomers and young people buying pets, “pet grooming” is giving way to “pet beauty.” That sums up the strategy of Wahl Clipper, which has introduced a new line of all-natural pet cleaning products, including dog deodorant and easy-rinse shampoos. The deodorant is designed to be sprayed on dogs, with a strong but not overwhelming scent, and then to dissipate, taking the dog’s odor with it. Meanwhile, the shampoo was designed the way a shampoo for humans would be designed because, as Wahl director of North America consumer sales Audie Rudiger told DSN, the first thing people do when buying shampoo for themselves is to smell it.

Duck Tape Ducklings

Duct tape may well be one of the most useful products ever invented, having even been used for repairs during the Apollo 13 mission. Now, ShurTech Brands has introduced a line from its Duck Tape brand that is useful as well as decorative. “Ducklings,” small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand, are designed mainly for small details and decorations, and are available in a variety of patterns like pink zebra, glow-in-the-dark and neon colors. The tape is designed for uses like gift wrapping, stylizing and more. Another new product is Washi Tape, which is designed to decorate objects like vases, but is also less permanent and easier to remove than others.

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Nielsen: Marks of innovative products

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Innovation. It’s what everybody in the Sands Expo Center is looking for — that kind of traffic-driving innovation that breaks the mold and generates $100 million to $200 million in first-year sales. But what does innovation look like?

“As marketers, this is what you live for,” Taddy Hall, Nielsen SVP innovation shared during a recent webinar celebrating this past year’s innovation success stories. It’s like capturing lightning in a bottle because, in addition to steadily climbing top-line sales, truly breakthrough innovations help charge up a sales team and invigorate the buyer community.

The common threads that tie breakthrough innovation together include distinctiveness (i.e., no line extensions), relevance (i.e., generates enough consumer traction to yield at least $50 million in first-year sales) and endurance (i.e., brands achieve at least 90% of year one sales).

“What we find with breakthrough winners is that they do perform vital, unmet jobs in the lives of consumers,” Hall said. Successful innovations reconfigure benefits to perform poorly addressed jobs, and nailing that kind of consumer fulfillment can actually transform a category. “Building successful innovation offerings is much more straightforward once you understand the consumer’s job to be done,” Hall added.

Last year’s 14 “winners,” culled out of 3,400 new product launches, included the likes of Chattem’s Allegra, Hershey’s Reese’s Minis and Procter & Gamble’s Downy Unstopables.

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