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Rexall selects Allstream to design telecom system

BY David Salazar

TORONTO — Canadian drug store chain Rexall has chosen Toronto-based communications company Allstream to design a telecommunication system for the company.

The system that Allstreams develops — which will integrate both data and voice infrastructure to deliver information quickly — will link Rexall's 448 Canadian stores.

"Allstream understood that with the right technology we can improve our customers' experience in each of our store,” Rexall’s senior IT and financial systems director, Ahmed Shariff, said. “Allstream studied our business, learned our needs and delivered a plan for a scalable end-to-end telecommunications solution that will allow us to unlock hidden value in our technology infrastructure.  This will also allow us to acquire and implement new technologies faster than ever before, especially as we grow."

The two companies worked together to plan a system that would integrate new technology while securing customers’ data.

"In such a competitive retail environment, companies like Rexall look to Allstream for innovative solutions that will differentiate them in the marketplace,” Allstream VP, national sales, Edith Cloutier said. “Our solution will free them up to focus even more on being a customer-focused and award-winning retailer."

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Health Mart Annual Meeting aims to help level the playing field

BY Michael Johnsen

ORLANDO, Fla. — “You have to be willing to do what your competition is not willing to do.” That was one of the key messages from motivational speaker and Olympic speed skier Vince Poscente, which also tied into the message Steve Courtman, president of Health Mart, and Tony Willoughby, Health Mart chief pharmacist, had for attendees at Tuesday morning’s Health Mart Annual Meeting.

“Reimbursement pressures, scale advantages, narrowing networks and technology integration continue to make it harder to compete,” said Courtman.

To help level that playing field, Health Mart has invested in programs designed to save their members time and money. “McKesson is very well positioned to continue driving value in generics. And we will continue to invest in Health Mart in all aspects of the business, including generics, to enable Health Marts to compete,” Courtman said. “Purchasing Advantage is another scale program from McKesson, which offers discounts on prescription vials, ADP payroll services, Pharmacist’s Letter, APhA membership, Staples, Sprint Cellular, and a whole host of other programs that we have.”

Courtman also talked about Health Mart’s investment in regional advertising. “Attracting patients, we look at this as very much a one-two punch,” he said. “You have to have access to those preferred networks first, then once you have access to those preferred networks you need to get the patients into the store, and that’s where we can help with the local marketing support program.  One of the key things is to give you the tools and support to market your pharmacy your way.”

Health Mart pharmacies have access to the Marketing Hub, Health Mart’s marketing portal designed to give owners the flexibility to promote their specific service offerings and distinct strengths, attract new patients and reinforce their value to existing patients. The Marketing Hub allows owners to easily access time-saving integrated campaigns, or select from more than 200 new traditional, digital and social media marketing tools.

“However, saving time and money alone is not going to level the playing field,  we still need to deliver quality patient care,” Courtman said.

Health Mart pharmacists excel at delivering patient care, most notably the kind of patient care that gets tracked in the Star ratings. Health Mart pharmacists have ensured that 85,000 patients are adherent to their cholesterol medications, and 97,000 patients are adherent to their blood-pressure medicines because of Health Mart pharmacists. “You are truly building healthier communities, and now we have the data to prove it,” Willoughby said. “There are a certain set of providers in this room who are in the top 20% of all pharmacies, not just independents. Almost a fourth of our Health Mart members are in the top 20% of at least one Star metric.”

“The industry is shifting to performance,” Courtman said. “It is vital that Health Mart pharmacies get credit for top 20% patient outcomes. Networks are being designed based upon this clinical performance. We intend to lead this transition from counting pills to clinical care.”

“Plans want to build against that network of pharmacies that help them improve those measures,” Willoughby added.

Out of that top 20%, the majority of those pharmacy owners employed medication therapy management (MTM) and medication synchronization as two tools to help them reach their performance goals.

For Health Mart pharmacists interested in implementing MTM and med synch programs in their own stores, but they’re not sure where to start, Health Mart announced a new program available to Health Mart owners that will knock down those barriers. Health Mart recently developed an exclusive program with Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) to help members improve patient outcomes and quality-measure performance, with a focus on behavioral coaching, medication synchronization and comprehensive medication reviews, as well as such intervention tools as refill reminders.

“Investing in a medication synchronization program can deliver 2.8 more refills per prescription, per patient, per year,” Courtman said.

Another one of the tools being piloted by Health Mart is the “My New Pharmacy Navigator” program. “This is a step-by-step guide for opening up a new store,” Courtman said. “There are two key components to this: if you haven’t opened up a store before and need to know the steps necessary associated with HR, marketing, licenses, and more, then it has the content. “For those owners who have opened up new stores and are multi-store owners, there is a customizable schedule to help you.”

 

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DripDrop now available at H-E-B

BY Raven Romero

SAN FRANCISCO — DripDrop, an oral rehydration solution, announced that it would make its debut on the shelves of more than 100 H-E-B stores in Texas. DripDrop is the first medical-grade rehydration product available to everyone over the counter — from those who want to maintain hydration levels ongoing, to those experiencing dehydration.

"Because DripDrop can help prevent dehydration, it tastes good and comes in powder packs that are easy to throw in your pocket, purse or gym bag, we think Texans will be pleased to discover and try this revolutionary new rehydration solution," said Dr. Eduardo Dolhun, DripDrop's founder and chief medical officer.

DripDrop's precise ratio of ingredients meets the international health community's standards to treat and prevent dehydration, while maintaining a taste similar to a sports drink. It has two to three times the electrolytes and half the calories of most sports drinks, and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Before DripDrop, most medical grade hydration solutions required intravenous delivery.

"After winning the support of doctors and top medical institutions, DripDrop is focused on making our revolutionary hydration solution available to everyone," said Doug Wolf, DripDrop's CEO. "H-E-B is a retailer with deep community roots, and we are pleased to be able to offer DripDrop to their customers."

DripDrop comes in powdered packets that are mixed with water. Each box of DripDrop contains four packets and each packet makes one 16.9-oz. serving. At H-E-B, DripDrop will retail for $9.99.

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