PHARMACY

Health Mart to host fifth year of revenue-boosting meetings for independents

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVING, Texas – Offering independent pharmacies practical advice for taking care of patients and growing their businesses, Health Mart on Tuesday kicked off its fifth Town Hall Continuing Education series titled “Revenue Remedies: Inject Profits into Your Business with Expanded Partnerships and Clinical Services.” Health Mart, with more than 4,800 locally owned community pharmacies across all 50 states, will host more than 80 events across the country through early 2018.

“Peer-to-peer networking and peer led education have proven to be a powerful catalyst in helping our independent pharmacies evolve how they deliver care and drive greater efficiency and profit into their business,” stated Steve Courtman, president, Health Mart. “Revenue Remedies is the next step in providing the tools and resources they need to transform their business through revenue generating clinical services and expanding provider partnerships.”

Each Revenue Remedies workshop features one of 18 successful Health Mart owners who will help attendees identify opportunities and overcome barriers to drive revenue and explore new ways to enhance provider partnerships. In the interactive peer-to-peer sessions, attendees will construct a plan to expand their immunization program, apply practical steps to ensure medication therapy management is profitable, and exchange insights and collaborate with peers on revenue-generating ideas.

All independent pharmacy owners, pharmacists and techs are invited.

Over the past five years, Health Mart has hosted more than 370 peer-to-peer Town Hall meetings to help members understand and improve the clinical, operational, and financial drivers that impact their business. The new Revenue Remedies events will help pharmacies overcome barriers and maximize clinical services to drive revenue while improving patient outcomes.

With more than 4,000 Health Marts immunizing, the physician-signed Collaborative Practice Agreement program is an example of how Health Mart is helping pharmacies successfully expand clinical services. Building on the success of the immunization CPAs, Health Mart worked with its third-party provider to expand the program to include customizable CPA templates which enable additional service delivery in the pharmacy and/or in local provider offices, as well as facilitating payment terms for collaborative drug therapy management services.

Pharmacist CPA services templates are now available for all 50 states through myHealthMart, which pharmacies can customize and work with local providers to sign.
 

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Merck gets FDA approval for new Keytruda indication

BY David Salazar

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new indication for Keytruda (pembrolizumab), the drug’s manufacturer Merck announced recently. The drug is now approved as a third-line treatment for patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma whose tumors test positive for a certain protein identified by an FDA-approved test.

The new indication was approved under the FDA program of accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability, with continued approval contingent on verification and description of benefit in future confirmatory trials, Merck said. Keytruda is an anti-programmed death receptor-1, or PD-1 therapy, which helps the immune system detect and fight tumor cells.

“Keytruda is now the first PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor approved in the United States for previously treated advanced gastric or GEJ cancer, helping to address a recognized treatment gap,” Merck Research Laboratories president Dr. Roger Perlmutter said. “This approval marks another milestone — the 10th new indication for Keytruda in just three years — which further demonstrates both our commitment to patients and the progress we have made in the fight against many cancers.”

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Supermarket Wellness Watch: Data shows breadth of retailer health commitments

BY David Orgel

It’s one thing to say food retailers are boosting their commitments to health and wellness. It’s another to actually crunch the numbers and understand how this is playing out.

A recently released report does just that by quantifying the growing retailer involvement in clinics, community health partnerships, consumer education, and other areas.

That report is Food Marketing Institute’s 2017 Retailer Contributions to Health and Wellness. DSN presented a timely news story when this report was unveiled in August.

It’s worth taking a deeper dive now, because of the report’s extensive data, and to relay the perspectives of a leading retailer in health and wellness.

First, let’s look at some of the report’s key findings, based on its survey of retailers:

  • The overwhelming majority of retailers — some 96% — said they are committed to expanding health and wellness programs in their stores;
  • Some of the most widely practiced health-related activities include product sampling, healthy recipes, good-for-you-products, front of pack labeling on private brand products, better-for-you prepared foods, and health screenings;
  • Virtually all retailers have pharmacists on staff, and almost 90% employ dietitians; and 
  • Three-quarters of stores report that pharmacists and dietitians are collaborating by referring customers to each other.

The findings were most illuminating when documenting extensive retailer involvement in specific initiatives, such as clinics.

“Perhaps the most tangible evidence of supermarkets becoming a key partner in health and wellness for the communities they serve is the rise of in-store clinics,” the report observed.

It found that 32% of respondents have clinics in some of their stores. All of these clinics — that’s 100%!  — are staffed with nurse practitioners. Other personnel include physicians’ assistants (75%), dietitians (25%), and health coaches (12.5%). The care provided by clinics included immediate (63%) and a  combination of immediate and chronic care (38%).

The report also spelled out the extent to which retailers are embracing involvement with community health partners. Some 96% of respondents have plans to work with specific community partners in the coming year. The choices of partners include local hospitals or health care networks (79%), health insurance providers (63%), allied health organizations such as AHA and ADA (63%), universities (58%), work site wellness programs (58%) and local gyms and/or professional trainers (50%).

The report also shed light on how retailers are going beyond in-store efforts to educate consumers about health. Almost all retailers — 93% — have web pages dedicated to health and wellness. The majority — 71% — publish health and wellness blogs. Sixty-two percent provide weight management programs for adults and children.

I reached out for more perspective to the retailer who chairs the FMI committee that produced this report.  Natalie Menza-Crowe is director of health and wellness for Wakefern Food, the operator of ShopRite supermarkets and a retail health and wellness leader. She said the report’s findings underscore how wellness efforts now extend to virtually all retailers.

“We’re getting close to the 100% mark of retailers focused on health and wellness as a primary objective in their business models,” she said. “As you go through the report, you see that retailers vary in where they focus efforts, such as with dieticians, culinary, in-store demos, cooking classes, store tours, and other areas. But all of it works.”

She added that having dietitians partner with pharmacy is a very positive direction for the industry.

Commenting on the wide range of industry health initiatives, Menza-Crowe emphasized that choices of activities need to be determined by market needs, and even by store.  “It has to be specific to the market,” she said. “Cooking classes might work better in one store, whereas one-on-one consultations may work better in another.”

The report’s data will be useful to retailers of all kinds hoping to benchmark how their activities compare with the wider industry. The upshot is that retailers are making deeper investments in wellness activities. No longer is the conversation about whether this is worthwhile. It’s about how many and which activities each retailer will focus on. That’s marks a big advancement.


David Orgel is an award-winning business journalist, industry expert and speaker who was the longtime chief editor and content leader of Supermarket News. He is currently the principal of David Orgel Consulting, delivering strategic content and counsel to the food, retail and CPG industries. To read last month’s blog post, click here
 
 

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