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WAG showcases new technologies at TEDMED conference

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens is showcasing some of its newest healthcare innovations at the TEDMED conference in San Diego, the retail pharmacy chain said Wednesday.

Attendees of the TEDMED conference, which began Tuesday and lasts until Friday, will be able to take iPad video tours of Walgreens’ new store format, which it has launched as a pilot program at about 20 of its stores in the Chicago area, as well as in Indianapolis.

Features of the new stores include a pharmacist desk area in front of the pharmacy counter to provide greater customer access to the pharmacist; private and semi-private consultation rooms; Health Guides who can answer product and service questions; an open and redesigned layout with expanded fresh food and beauty products, with more accessible shelving and checkout lines; and such technology as Walgreens Web Pickup, which allows customers to order online and pick up at the store and touchscreen kiosks that allow patients to quickly refill prescriptions.

"Walgreens has a long-standing history of innovating to meet the evolving needs of our customers, which is why we’ve taken an approach to move beyond the traditional drug store format and deliver a differentiated shopping and pharmacy experience based on what consumers have told us," Walgreens chief innovation officer Colin Watts said. "These new stores improve the design, convenience and quality of our pharmacy services, more effectively utilize space and fully leverage the expertise of our highly trained pharmacy staff to help deliver an experience that reflects our capabilities and commitment to cost-effective health care."

The company also will demonstrate mobile applications for Apple, Android and Blackberry devices, which include "Refill by Scan," an app that allows patients to scan the barcode of a prescription and order refills in seconds, as well as refill reminder text alerts. On Thursday, Walgreens will host a live Facebook chat on the evolving role of the pharmacist that will engage TEDMED attendees and Facebook users in an interactive discussions with a Walgreens pharmacist who will discuss how pharmacists’ roles are changing.

"People value choice, control and convenience, and the online and mobile channels are great ways to deliver healthcare tools and information to our customers," Walgreens president for e-commerce Sona Chawla said. "These applications have been widely adopted in helping people manage their health 24/7, wherever they are."


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California Pharmacists Association partners with PrescribeWellness to promote flu shots

BY Alaric DeArment

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Pharmacists Association and PrescribeWellness have launched a partnership designed to boost flu vaccination rates, the CPhA said Wednesday.

The "One Million More" flu shot campaign aims to increase the year-over-year influenza vaccination rate by 1 million immunizations by donating communication materials to flu shot administrators so that they can educate patients about the importance and ease of getting a flu shot.

"This initiative demonstrates the important role that pharmacists play as the most accessible healthcare provider in a community," CPhA CEO Jon Roth said. "Today, pharmacists do much more than safely dispense medication; they provide immunizations, diabetes management, cholesterol screenings and an array of other important health services."


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Safeskin covers up sports-related injuries for kids, teens

BY Allison Cerra

PHILADELPHIA — Kimberly-Clark has introduced a new colored sports wrap specifically created for children and teens.

Safeskin kids sports wrap is designed to secure bandages and splints, as well as cushion or support wounds. The self-adhesive, water-resistant, latex-free and reusable wrap is available in blue, red, green and yellow.

"More than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports-related injuries each year, with strains and sprains being among the most common complaints," said Jamie Britton, marketing leader for the Kimberly-Clark home professional business. "When this happens, we think kids should have superior support to get back in the game, as well as the opportunity for self-expression. They shouldn’t have to wear the same dull sports wraps as adults."

Safeskin kids sports wrap currently is available at Walmart for a suggested retail price of $3.94, with expanded distribution expected in early 2012.


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