New H-E-B Bellaire Market elevates customer experience, literally
H-E-B is opening Wednesday its first multi-level store in the Houston region.
Located where one of its original H-E-B Pantry stores once stood, the new, 78,000-square-foot store more than doubles the size of the original location and features two levels of shopping options, expanded and covered parking in the first-floor garage, and is equipped with elevators and escalators to easily navigate between the store and garage.
“We have been a part of the Bellaire community for more than 24 years and are committed to our loyal customer following,” said Armando Perez, senior vice president, H-E-B Houston. “While the Bellaire store will offer an enhanced in-store experience with the highest standard of service and selection, we are also always looking for ways to be innovative and connect with our customers on a new level.”
An Artful Experience
H-E-B Bellaire Market will kick-off the company’s arts initiative with a permanent interactive light installation called Blue by You, by Texas artist Ansen Seale. As shoppers move in the space, the piece – composed of acrylic, LED lights and aluminum – responds by changing color, leaving a trail behind the moving person.
“My intention is the viewer becomes the creator, riding a self-generated wave of color to and from an everyday experience,” said Seale.
Moving forward in all Houston multi-level stores, the company will commission an artist to create a custom, site-specific installation, adding an engaging element to each neighborhood’s H-E-B.
Expanding the store also means expanding the offerings. Highlights include but are not limited to:
- A full-service pharmacy on the first floor with drive through access;
- The largest assortment of Texas-made products;
- A fully-stocked Healthy Living department with bulk foods including honey, nuts, grains, dried fruits, snack mixes, a wide variety of supplements; and
- A wine and beer selection that features more than 1,800 bottles of wine (sampling in store) and 300 beers with an emphasis on Texas craft and hyper local craft.
Following the grand opening, H-E-B will introduce The Roastery, a Four J Foods coffee shop and eatery located on the second floor of the property with a separate entrance for easy access and indoor and outdoor seating.
The grocer also announced two community donations totaling $10,000 in honor of the store’s grand opening. The Hana and Arthur Ginzbarg Nature Discovery Center was established to ignite life-long curiosity, understanding, and respect for nature through education and will receive $5,000. A second gift of $5,000 will go to Undies for Everyone. Undies for Everyone enhances the self-esteem, dignity, hygiene and success of disadvantaged students by providing them underwear throughout Houston and beyond.
Kroger commits to phasing out neonicotinoid-treated plants
Kroger has announced a new policy to protect pollinators that includes a commitment to phase out by 2020 sourcing of live garden plants in stores and garden centers that have been treated with neonicotinoids, a group of insecticides that are harmful to honey bees.
The policy is inclusive of outdoor plants known to be pollinated by honey bees or known to attract honey bees.
Today, the majority of live plant sales in Kroger’s garden center and outdoor floral selection are not treated with neonicotinoids during the growing process. Its suppliers are actively seeking alternative options for the remaining products, and remains committed to working with them to ensure proper alternatives have been identified by 2020, the grocer stated. Kroger will also track, measure and report on the progress against this commitment.
Kroger stated that it will rely on the expertise of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and other scientific experts to evaluate any possible updates to the policy.
Additionally, Kroger offers a large selection of organic produce, which is desirable for customers looking to minimize potential exposure to synthetic pesticides. Representing nearly 20 percent of America’s annual organic produce business, Kroger sales reached $1 billion in 2017. A dedicated procurement team partners with more than 300 organic produce growers and suppliers every year to bring customers a selection of organic fruits and vegetables, the grocer stated.
AllianceRx Walgreens Prime taps Inovalon for cloud-based specialty Rx capabilities
AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, which was formed in 2017 through a collaboration between Walgreens and PBM Prime Therapeutics, has inked a five-year engagement with tech company Inovalon.
Under the agreement, announced on Tuesday, Inovalon will provide cloud-based specialty pharmacy capabilities though its ONE Platform. According to Inovalon, the platform’s capabilities allow for AllianceRx Walgreens Prime to be significantly differentiated in the marketplace, reducing time-to-fill and costs and improving quality assurance, while empowering advanced functionality, greater flexibility, operational efficiency, and a focus on clinical and quality outcomes.
Referred to as ScriptMed Cloud, the specialty pharmacy configuration of the Inovalon ONE Platform leverages a wide array of existing proprietary technology toolsets within the platform (known as components) as well as a module of eight newly developed components that leverage Creehan specialty pharmacy expertise engineered in cloud native-microservice architecture.
Examples of features enabled through the platform include:
- Sophisticated clinical protocols powered by patient-specific data and advanced analytics;
- Extensive connectivity with EHRs, HIEs, payer systems, and provider sites to speed necessary data capture and authorization processes;
- Modular design allowing health plans and provider systems to integrate more easily with in-house capabilities and other third-party pharmacy solutions;
- Real-time analytics and data accessibility to timely inform clinical interactions and improve patient experience;
- Simultaneous multi-stakeholder coordination enabling parallel processes related to each unique patient’s needs, materially accelerating time-to-fill improvements;
- Real-time process coordination of patient-level and provider-level data with elements of care management, referral management, order fulfillment, order management, inventory management, revenue cycle management, and relevant contract management supporting payer and pharmaceutical manufacturer requirements; and
- Highly granular business intelligence tracking and reporting to deliver insights on system, financial, clinical, and operational status and performance in real time.
Preparation for ScriptMed Cloud began during the summer of 2017, with subsequent expansions of Inovalon’s cloud data centers and cloud-based software design and development. Unique to the project launch is the simultaneous support of enterprise software during the phased delivery of cloud-based functionality. When completed, all of the AllianceRx Walgreens Prime’s operations will be run from the Inovalon cloud-based platform.
“We are committed to bringing the industry’s most advanced capabilities to the marketplace for our clients and their patients,” said Joel Wright, chief executive officer of AllianceRx Walgreens Prime. “With the rising focus on quality, costs, and patient experience, we are excited about our relationship with Inovalon and the differentiation we will bring to the market together.”
“The application of sophisticated data-driven capabilities in specialty pharmacy is critical not only to operating efficiently, but also to delivering the best possible experience and outcome for patients,” added Jim Adams, chief information officer of AllianceRx Walgreens Prime. “Inovalon stands out not only in their achievement of truly industry-leading cloud-based capabilities, but also in their appreciation of the patient and the impact that we can achieve together.”
In addition to supporting AllianceRx Walgreens Prime’s existing portfolio of business, the engagement is also designed as a collaboration to facilitate the identification and joint delivery of specialty pharmacy platform services across the marketplace. As many health plans and provider systems are exploring ways to decrease costs, increase market differentiation, and service their respective patients and members, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime and Inovalon will collaborate to support these potential clients’ needs together.
“For years we have worked together with the specialty pharmacy marketplace to deliver solutions that achieve both industry-leading capabilities and patient-focused care,” said Sean Creehan, president and general manager of Inovalon’s specialty pharmacy software business. “The introduction of ScriptMed Cloud elevates this focus to a whole new level, adding tremendous advancements in functionality and performance that accelerate speed-to-value and enables the improvement of patient care, which is at the core of our mission and why we come to work each day.”