HEALTH

Raising the ‘steaks’ on quality care

BY Rob Eder

Recently, I had a brief conversation with a man I admire and respect very much, regarding the cover story of the Oct. 15 issue of DSN, “Building the ACO.”


“Eder, what’s an ACO?” the man asked.


I explained that it stands for accountable care organization; basically, it means providers from different practice settings working together to spread primary care responsibility across an integrated healthcare team. 


“You think that’s good?”


It’s about lowering cost, improving care and realigning incentives so people ultimately live healthier, I said. In the not-so-distant future, providers across all practices will be measured and compensated based on their ability to improve patient outcomes. 


“Just what we need — the government deciding how to pay doctors.”


But it’s not the government, I explained; providers are making those decisions right now. Quality care initiatives are taking place across every sector of health care, including the Pharmacy Quality Alliance, which is working to define what quality patient care looks like in that setting. Medication adherence will be a critical measure that will determine how pharmacies are paid.


I explained the star ratings that would replace our fee-for-service system. Think of it like picking a restaurant. If I want to go to dinner, I can go to Zagat or Yelp, or any of a number of websites that will tell me where to get the best steak in town. I know if I go there, I’m going to get a great meal, and I also can expect to pay more for it. That’s not socialism. Socialism would be if all restaurants had to charge the same price regardless of the food, service, decor, etc. — where a great chef made as much as a chef that made you sick.


Why should health care be any different?


Rob Eder is the editor in chief of The Drug Store News Group, publishers of Drug Store News, DSN Collaborative Care, and Specialty Pharmacy magazines. You can contact him at [email protected].

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Consumers using more OTCs for cost savings

BY DSN STAFF

As many as 26% of consumers increased their usage of over-the-counter products in the past year, according to an online survey of more than 900 AccentHealth viewers conducted in September. Anticipated increases in OTC use for the upcoming year are driven by those who have already reported a rise in usage in the past year.


To see more Patient Views, click here.

The lower cost of OTCs was cited as the primary reason viewers have increased and plan to increase their OTC usage. 


“Year over year, viewers appear to be getting more cost-conscious,” said Natalie Hill, Accent-Health VP market research, noting that 39% of viewers suggested that lower costs associated with OTC medicines would drive increased usage in the coming year, as compared with 29% who cited cost as the main driver behind increased OTC use in the past year. 


One-in-5 respondents expect any increase in OTC usage will be related to aging. Consumers younger than 55 years were the drivers behind increased OTC usage through 2012. Insurance coverage is another significant factor that is driving increased OTC utilization — 67% of respondents switched to an OTC once insurance coverage was suspended for a prescription formulation. 


In the Jan. 14 issue of DSN, Patient Views will look at how consumers choose OTC products and the influencers that shape those decisions.


Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that appears in every edition of DSN magazine and in the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 4,000 patients anything, what would it be? Send your questions to [email protected]

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Medagate introduces restricted-spend platform that incentivizes wellness through Fred’s

BY Michael Johnsen

REDWOOD CITY, Ga. — Medagate on Thursday announced the first implementation of its 2.0 restricted-spend platform, which encourages eligible consumers to make healthy living choices by purchasing qualified items at the point of sale. Fred’s Super Dollar stores in North Carolina and Georgia will be the first stores to implement the new capabilities. 

With the Medagate 2.0 platform, Fred’s customers who are participating in select wellness programs (i.e., sponsored by an insurer, employer, benefit administrator, retailer or consumer product goods manufacturer) automatically, and in real-time, receive special discounts on pre-identified healthy food items and eligible over-the-counter medicines at the point of sale.

“We are excited to introduce our 2.0 restricted-spend platform, which allows retailers and benefit administrators to collaborate on wellness initiatives to help lower overall healthcare costs," stated Devin Wade, president Medagate. "Consumers receive immediate discounts at the register for a range of health and wellness products determined by their healthcare provider,” he said. “The future of healthcare consumerism involves the direct involvement by payers to support healthy choices.  Our platform creates an incentive-based platform that can be used to support those efforts.”

The program launches Dec. 1. The initial catalog of eligible products will range from OTC medicines to fresh vegetables, milk and dairy products. Customized catalogs can be organized directly by benefit providers or in partnership with manufacturers and retailers.

“This program is the type of targeted benefit and partnership that we are pleased to offer our customers and their benefit providers,” commented David Mueller, SVP sales and marketing, Fred’s Super Dollar. “We want to enable incentives for our customers that help keep them healthy and save them money.”

The Medagate 2.0 platform expands on Medagate’s award-winning OTCNetwork to accommodate a wider array of grocery, health and wellness products and more dynamic discount incentives. The new platform allows for reimbursement and discounting of products down to the stock-keeping unit level in real time at the point of sale. 

 

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