HEALTH

Quality of care found at retail clinics shouldn’t be questioned

BY Jim Frederick

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Retail pharmacy operators continue to expand their presence in the burgeoning market for retail-based walk-in clinics, and the services those convenient-care centers provide. And there’s growing evidence that the nation’s overwrought, cash-crunched healthcare system desperately needs those services in a time of dwindling resources, overworked primary care physicians and unsustainable cost hikes.

(THE NEWS: Take Care Health Systems’ treatment of pharyngitis, upper respiratory infections exceeds national quality benchmarks. For the full story, click here)

Indeed, the more than 1,100 in-store clinics opened by the nation’s drug, supermarket and mass-merchant pharmacy retailers over the past decade are providing a critical service, much the way a steam pressure valve keeps a boiler from exploding. And the quality of care now is beyond dispute.

To the few remaining critics who still question the value of in-store retail clinics and the level of care provided by the nurse practitioners and other health professionals who staff them, Walgreens gave another answer on Monday. The answer came from its Take Care Health Systems subsidiary, which operates more than 700 in-store clinics and worksite health centers.

According to the company, the more than 350 Take Care Clinics within its drug stores exceeded national quality benchmarks for their treatment of pharyngitis and upper respiratory infections, as measured by the Jefferson School of Population Health.

The reasons are easy enough to fathom, and they go to the heart of the mission that community pharmacies and in-store clinics say they’re in business to provide: quality, patient-focused care. Take Care professionals, according to the Jefferson study, demonstrated a patient-centric focus both at the time of initial contact between patient and professional, and afterward, when all patients receive a follow-up call within 48 hours of the visit.

The announcement came fast on the heels of other news on the healthcare front for the nation’s largest drug chain. On Oct. 7, Walgreens revealed it is working with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases to educate the public and health professionals about flu prevention resources. The company also has joined with Families Fighting Flu, a nonprofit organization of families and healthcare practitioners, to heighten flu awareness and encourage vaccinations for children and families.

In all, Walgreens said it plans to administer no fewer than 15 million flu shots during the flu season of late 2010 and early 2011.

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GNC highlights endurance selection

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH GNC on Thursday announced it would highlight its new “Endurance Wall,” which includes as many as 50 SKUs, at two upcoming endurance events.

“The GNC endurance selection is an amazing array of products designed to meet the specific needs of serious athletes across all sports and activities. No matter what their level of experience, GNC has the right product,” stated Tom Dowd, EVP store operations and development.

The new wall will house the on-course drinks for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 9, and from the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10.

“GNC supports a wide range of athletic events around the country, but these two events symbolize the GNC Live Well premise –– that all athletes, whether professionals or serious amateurs, can participate in open events that provide an opportunity for them to demonstrate that their training, with its highs and lows, is worth it all,” stated Dave Sims, GNC VP direct marketing and two-time Hawaii Ironman participant.

In Kona, the PowerBar Ironman Perform is the on-course drink for the race. GNC’s Kona store is only two blocks from the start/finish line and the bike and run components of the race go past it on the way out and coming back. More than 1,800 participants are expected in the Hawaii Ironman event, with thousands more cheering them on.

In Chicago, Gatorade’s G Series Pro 02 endurance formula is the on-course drink for the 33rd running of the marathon. In addition to on-course availability, marathoners and spectators alike will be able to find G Series Pro 02 at GNC stores in the area. As well as the thousands of spectators in downtown Chicago, there will be 38,000 runners, including more than 20,000 from outside Illinois.

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Professional Therapy MuscleCare gets ECRM best new product award

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS Professional Therapy MuscleCare last month was awarded “best new product” at the ECRM Health Management EPPS held here. The award, sponsored by Drug Store News, is presented to the manufacturer that collects the most “best new product” votes from retailers attending the event.

As part of its initial rollout, MuscleCare has penned a sponsorship deal with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic, a group of sports chiropractors from 30 countries that treat Olympic and nationally ranked athletes.

The company fields two topical pain-relief products — topical Professional Therapy MuscleCare extra-strength roll-on gel and Professional Therapy MuscleCare ointment — and presently has distribution through Duane Reade and CVS.com. The products contain camphor and menthol to relax tissue and increase the flow of healthy blood, and nutrients in order to reset the muscle to its normal resting length and promote healing.

 

"The topical pain-relief industry has long been lacking in safety and efficacy, and I have gone to great lengths and conducted a thorough clinical study to change that," stated Chris Oswald, CEO of Professional Therapy MuscleCare, when debuting the product earlier this year.

 

 

The retail price is $19.99 for the roll-on gel and $25.99 for the ointment.

 

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