AAFES announces new initiatives
DALLAS Army and Air Force Exchange Service on Monday announced a host of new initiatives, including improved stock assortments, a revamped customer comment program and a focus on social media.
For example, AAFES recently introduced Vera Bradley, Coach and Victoria’s Secret Pink store-in-store concepts as part of its focus on new, trendy and updated styles, as well as recognizable name brands.
In an effort to meet a continuing demand for more of the best brands at the best prices, upcoming rollouts also will include Ladies Izod and Lauren-Ralph Lauren store-in-store concepts, the military retailer announced.
In addition to the increase in selection, AAFES is developing an internal system to better assist associates in determining demographic factors when procuring fashion merchandise. A Web-based learning course also has been created to aid in the merchandising of fashion goods and customer service.
“We’re continually adjusting the stock assortment to ensure we have what military shoppers want and need,” stated Jeffry Helm, AAFES senior enlisted advisor chief. “At the same time, we are reaching out to the military community to find out what they’d like to see more of and what they want less of.”
Customer feedback continues to be instrumental in allowing AAFES to better serve military consumers and improve their overall shopping experience, Helm noted. The Customer Comment program, for example, recently was redesigned for 2010 to include postage-paid comment cards, as well as new signing and fixtures, to make it easier for military shoppers to provide input to Exchange managers. “By placing a greater emphasis on these customer feedback initiatives, we have nearly doubled the amount of customer comments from this time one year ago,” Helm said. “As a result, this invaluable feedback is helping direct efforts toward delivering a stronger benefit.”
Beyond one-on-one communication, AAFES also has ventured into social media through such channels as Facebook and Twitter. An expressed interest in extended savings opportunities in these venues prompted the creation of a recently launched program that makes coupons exclusively available through AAFES’ Facebook page.
BioMarin Pharmaceutical acquires ZyStor Therapeutics
NOVATO, Calif. BioMarin Pharmaceutical has acquired privately owned biotechnology company ZyStor Therapeutics for $22 million, BioMarin said.
The drug maker said it also would pay ZyStor up to $93 million in milestone payments. The main gem in the deal was ZC-701, ZyStor’s investigative treatment for the lysosomal storage disorder Pompe disease and a potential competitor to Genzyme Corp.’s Pompe disease treatment Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa). A phase 1/2 clinical study of ZC-701 in late-onset Pompe disease is expected to begin in first quarter 2011.
“The acquisition of ZyStor gives us the opportunity to introduce a superior product to fulfill an unmet medical need and is a perfect fit in our core business,” BioMarin CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime stated. “It not only provides us with a promising product candidate for Pompe disease, but also an exciting new platform technology.”
Nurse practitioners are vital to a healthy U.S. healthcare system
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The USA Today article highlighting nurse-managed centers as one “innovative” program that could help fill the primary care physician void is important because it underscores the important role that nurse practitioners play in delivering quality healthcare services.
(THE NEWS: Nurse-managed centers may fill primary care physician void. For the full story, click here)
It is no secret that the healthcare system has been, and will continue to be, under great strain as healthcare costs soar and a shortage of primary care doctors largely contributes to the bottle-necking taking place within emergency rooms.
According to numbers provided by the Convenient Care Association, as few as 2% of medical students coming out of U.S. medical schools intend to pursue a career in general primary care. Also, between 30% and 60% of convenient care clinic patients reported not having a primary care physician. Plus, as many as 40% of convenient care clinic patients said they would have sought costlier care or would have foregone care completely if there had not been a convenient care clinic available.
Clearly, there’s a gap that needs to be filled, and convenient care clinics and such clinics as the Family Practice and Counseling Network in Philadelphia highlighted in the USA Today article, are striving to help fill that gap.
The good news is that the importance of nurse practitioners, as well as the retail-based clinic setting, is not going unnoticed. In fact, Senators Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., in July introduced the Senate resolution officially designating Aug. 2 to 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week.
Now, with about 30 million uninsured gaining healthcare coverage under healthcare reform and patients making fewer physician visits, either because they can’t afford it or can’t get an appointment in a timely fashion, the U.S. healthcare systems needs “innovative” programs and needs nurse practitioners.