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Rite Aid’s EnvisionPharmacies gains PCAB accreditation

BY Michael Johnsen

EnvisionPharmacies, a division of the Rite Aid subsidiary EnvisionRxOptions, announced that its compounding pharmacy received accreditation from the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board, a service of Accreditation Commission for Health Care. EnvisionPharmacies also holds accreditation for both Mail and Specialty Pharmacy from URAC, a healthcare management accrediting organization.

“Compounded medications can be a lifesaver for patients who are unable to take commercially available drugs because of allergies or difficulty swallowing,” said Bruce Scott, president of EnvisionPharmacies. “For patients with unique therapeutic needs, compounded medications are a highly customized, cost-effective option to provide clinically necessary therapies.”

PCAB assesses pharmacies that compound medications by combining, mixing or altering drug ingredients to create a medication as prescribed for an individual patient. The accreditation process includes an extensive onsite survey conducted by an independent expert and annual verification to ensure compliance with the pharmacy compounding process defined by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention guidelines.

The practice of compounding medications has received recent attention for both affordability and quality. EnvisionPharmacies employs highly trained pharmacists who prepare safe, effective, custom compounded medications by mixing individual ingredients in the precise strength and dosage prescribed for an individual patient. Prepared in a state-of-the-art lab to prevent cross contamination, compounded medications available from EnvisionPharmacies include allergen-free preparations, formulations for patients who have trouble swallowing or taste sensitivities, and combinations of multiple medications made into a single dose form. Achieved by a select number of compounding pharmacies nationally, accreditation from PCAB validates EnvisionPharmacies’ commitment to safe practices, and offers an affordable solution for employers and health plans.

“PCAB Accreditation allows pharmacies to distinguish themselves as a high-quality pharmacy, committed to the highest compounding standards” said Jon Pritchett, associate director of pharmacy for PCAB. “EnvisionPharmacies has successfully demonstrated its ability to develop high quality, safe and effective compound medications to meet the unique needs of their patients.”

“Through the process of accreditation, PCAB has evaluated every series of action we take in the lab,” explained Allison Shuster, manager, Compounding department for EnvisionPharmacies. “This is vital for patient safety, as every product is compounded by hand from formulas uniquely created for each individual patient’s individual needs. PCAB Accreditation recognizes our commitment to provide the highest quality compounded medications for all our patients and maintains that we follow the best practices in the industry.”

 

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PDS recognizes Health Mart pharmacy team for perseverance

BY Michael Johnsen

James Drug Store, a Health Mart pharmacy in Denham Springs, La., received the Team of the Year Award from Pharmacy Development Services earlier this week. Chris Dimos, president of retail solutions, McKesson, presented the award at the PDS Super-Conference held in Orlando, Fla. last week.

“Health Mart and McKesson are proud to recognize the outstanding team at James Drug Store for their resilience and outstanding performance in the face of both natural disasters and business setbacks,” Dimos said. “Pat Brian and his team banded together to not only meet these challenges, but exceed expectations for the pharmacy’s ongoing clinical and business performance. They are very deserving of this recognition and I hope that they will continue to serve as a role model for how pharmacies can perform at their best – during good times and challenging times.”

In 2016, a severe flood devastated Denham Springs, destroying nearly 400 businesses and damaging more than 75% of the homes, including the homes of Brian and the store’s owner, Herman Crotwell. Despite the fact that many of the staff had lost everything in the flood, James Drug Store was open the next day serving customers.

The team’s resilience was tested again in 2017 when their prescription long-term care business, in partnership with another organization and due for expansion, was unexpectedly terminated. As a result, the team went from filling 42,000 prescriptions per month to 17,000.

Tapping into the tools provided at the Super-Conference, Brian was encouraged to replace the business with an in-depth focus on compounding and the launch of a weight loss protocol. These steps added 62% to the store’s net profit in 2017 and the team replaced 75% of the lost income. Brian expects they will soon replace all lost income and create a clinic in the space initially dedicated to the LTC expansion.

The Team of the Year Award recognizes a PDS member pharmacy that has exemplified leadership and teamwork. The recipient serves as an example of how a model pharmacy team should work. The James Drug Store team, a Health Mart pharmacy, received the award in recognition of their resilience in the face of adversity.

McKesson’s Health Mart supports a network of nearly 5,000 independent pharmacies with solutions that help pharmacists improve clinical performance, manage operational changes and discover additional revenue opportunities to build and maintain a thriving business.

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Upstart AiFi promises checkout-free store ‘orders of magnitude’ bigger than Amazon Go

BY David Salazar

Amazon might want to be on its guard. Just a few weeks after launching its Amazon Go checkout-free brick-and-mortar store concept, the company already has potential competition in convenience innovation. The challenger, Santa Clara, Calif.-based AiFi, a self-described “computer vision technology company,” said Tuesday it has created a scalable checkout-free solution for stores of any size. AiFi has teased a pending rollout with a major retailer on a scale CEO Steve Gu said would be “orders of magnitude bigger than the Amazon Go store.”

“Consumers and businesses alike want to be efficient and with a checkout-free store, consumers have an incredible shopping experience,” Gu said. “The shopping experience now demonstrated and widely promoted by Amazon is just the tiniest taste of what the AiFi technology will do for retailers — with shops that range from tiny to huge.”

AiFi’s concept uses artificial intelligence, sensor and camera networks and an integrated system to make a checkout-free experience possible for any retailer, the company said. AiFi said that its solution combines AI algorithms that can track people in real-time and recognize actions and products with a camera technology that it said can adapt to a large store or a small corner store. Systems in AiFi’s solution continuously track shoppers in-store, recognizing them as they make their way through the aisles — even recognizing people shopping together as a group. As with Amazon Go, with AiFi’s technology, shoppers can walk out the store and be charged for what they pick up without standing in a checkout line.

According to Gu, Americans spent roughly 37 billion hours in line last year, during which more than 90% of retail sales came from physical stores. The new focus for retailers is convenience for shoppers and increased inventory management capabilities for retailers. AiFI’s technology can recognize tens of thousands of SKU item numbers based on AI, the company said, noting that once installed with no major retrofitting, it offers retailers inventory management data and insights into shopping behavior and preferences.

Once it rolls out at the end of the year, AiFi will highlight that a retailer doesn’t need to have Amazon’s scale to deliver on convenience, Gu said.

“Because our technology is massively scalable, tens of thousands of stores worldwide can become a ‘grab-and-go’ type of retailer,” he said. “Our solution helps stores run more efficiently and provides customers with a better shopping experience. Run in, grab what you need and continue on with your day. Easier for shoppers and more insights and real-time statistics for stores so they can better serve their customers and manage overall operations.”

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