HEALTH

More supermarkets investing in health and wellness as growth vehicle, FMI reports

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. —  Health and wellness represents a significant growth opportunity for supermarket retailers, according to 81% of the food retailers who participated in a recent Food Marketing Institute survey. That's up from 70% in 2014, FMI reported.

"The convergence of the changing health care environment; consumers’ interest in having a closer connection to their food; and supermarket-solution-provider capabilities all create the potential for dynamic relationships between the food retailer and the shopper," noted Sue Borra, chief health and wellness officer for FMI and executive director of the FMI Foundation. "As a nutrition educator by training, I view this convergence of factors as a trifecta for positive behavior change."

And more supermarket operators are investing in that growth opportunity with a window office in the c-suite. "If I look back to just three years ago in our industry, two primary leadership teams held responsibility for operationalized health and wellness initiatives in food retail – pharmacy (59%) and nutrition (50%) leadership teams," Borra noted. "Now we’re witnessing an entire category of managers for health and wellness leadership: 71% of these professionals are focused experts leading the decision-making process on how programs are established and operationalized."

Other key findings from the survey, published in the FMI Retailer Contributions to Health & Wellness 2017, were:

  • 72% of respondents also view health and wellness as a significant growth opportunity for their own store brand;
  • 89% of food retailer respondents have established health and wellness programs for customers, employees or both and 96% are committed to expanding programs in their stores; and
  • In more than 50% of stores, product sampling (86%), healthy recipes (86%) and good-for-you-products (86%) were ranked highest among strategies to promote health and wellness. Smartphone apps and text programs for creating grocery lists was second at 68%.

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CVS Health, Cigna unveil Cigna Health Works collaboration

BY David Salazar

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. and WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health and Cigna on Thursday announced a new collaboration aimed at revamping the experience of patients on Cigna employer-sponsored health plans. Cigna Health Works will align Cigna-administered health benefits with CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic services to create a personalized health-and-wellness program for Cigna-covered patients in select markets, the companies said.

“Cigna Health Works flips the traditional health care experience on its head to help make health benefits more effective, affordable and user-friendly,” Michele Paige, VP and GM of Cigna Onsite Health, said. “This new model is based on how the customer wants to consume health care — it's about creating value and a new way for health care consumers to get more from their health plan, by ensuring that we are there for them at the places they prefer to go for convenient care.”

Cigna Health Works includes such benefits for Cigna beneficiaries as patient engagement and personalized support using Health Tag message on prescription bags that advice patients of necessary health actions from the pharmacist or a clinician, as well as provide information about available Cigna Health and Wellness Coaching services that are included at no additional cost with their health plan. Additionally, the collaboration includes contracted discounts at MinuteClinic for certain preventive and acute care, including biometric blood-pressure, cholesterol and blood-sugar screenings and treatment for minor illnesses.

The collaboration also includes a CVS ExtraCare Health card that provides an exclusive 20% discount on such CVS Health-branded over-the-counter health-related products as vitamins, pain relievers, digestive health products and more. Cigna Health Works also can be paired with Cigna 90 Now, which offers 90-day refills for maintenance medication in an effort to improve patient adherence and cost savings.

“This new level of collaboration with Cigna is a part of the growing trend toward consumer-directed care,” CVS Pharmacy president Helena Foulkes said. “By providing information and cues for CVS customers and patients to help them get the most from their Cigna-administered health benefits, we also help them improve their health and reduce their health care costs in a way that's easy and convenient.”

Paige said that Cigna Health Works offers an opportunity for cost savings by providing beneficiaries an alternative to potentially costly urgent care and emergency room visits, and noted Cigna data showing that 45% of its greater south Florida customers’ urgent care facility visits could have been conducted in retail clinics. Doing so, Cigna said, would have reduced the patients’ healthcare costs by 81% per visit.

"As the popularity of retail health care continues to rise, Cigna Health Works is designed to help improve health care quality and address potential gaps in care,” Paige said. “In some markets, up to one-third of Cigna customers have used some form of retail health care within a year's time.”

The effort also is aimed at filling gaps in care. Cigna said that Cigna Health Works can help address such health concerns as lacking a primary care physician or accessing pre-diabetic health screening. Besides the discounted rates for acute episodic care at MinuteClinic locations, Cigna-administered plan patients will be able to access A1C blood-sugar testing, and MinuteClinic clinicians can provide patients with a list of in-network physicians for those without a primary care provider. Patients with existing primary care physicians can have their electronic health record shared with their physician.

“By connecting all constituents in the care continuum, Cigna Health Works is designed to close potential gaps and improve the quality of care our customers receive,” Paige said.

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Prevagen NASCAR sponsorship continued at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, Wis. — Prevagen's sponsorship of Josh Bilicki continued this weekend as he competed in the second of three road courses in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Prevagen first announced its sponsorship of Bilicki, a native of Richfield, Wisconsin, last week. Bilicki raced in the No. 8 B.J. McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

"Overall, last week at Watkins Glen was a very positive weekend for us," Bilicki said.  "We showed that we could compete with the top teams and drivers. We faced strong competition and it shuffled us to the back of the field in the closing half of the race."

"We're thrilled to support Josh at the Mid-Ohio Challenge and watch him to continue to learn and gain experience as a driver on these mentally challenging road courses," said Tom Dvorak, VP sales and marketing at Quincy Bioscience, the makers of Prevagen. "You never really stop learning in life and always have to step up to new tests. We are proud to continue as sponsors within the greater NASCAR family."

 

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