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AmerisourceBergen’s ThoughtSpot 2014 draws record attendance

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS — ThoughtSpot 2014, AmerisourceBergen and Good Neighbor Pharmacy’s annual tradeshow, concluded this weekend after four days of programming focused on helping independent pharmacies navigate industry changes caused by healthcare reform. Through various exhibits, networking sessions, workshops and trainings, independent pharmacists received resources and tools to transform their business and deliver the next phase of patient care. This year’s show attracted nearly 70% more customers and pharmacy representatives than last year, making ThoughtSpot 2014 the most successful conference to date, AmerisourceBergen announced Wednesday. 
 
“At Good Neighbor Pharmacy, we know that independent pharmacies feel uncertain in the new healthcare environment and are ready to transform their business,” stated Dave Neu, president of AmerisourceBergen Drug Co. “With transformation comes inherent risk, but more importantly, it presents significant opportunity. Independent pharmacies have the ability to leverage their unique value and uncertainty to drive growth. At ThoughtSpot, we show pharmacists that Good Neighbor Pharmacy has the resources to transform their business and respond to industry changes through knowledge, reach and partnership.” 
 
Healthcare reform has forced all roles within the industry to evolve, including the expanding role of independent pharmacists. Pharmacists stay up-to-date through educational opportunities that allow them to keep pace with new and growing expectations. At ThoughtSpot, community pharmacists were able to select and attend a number of continued learning courses on a variety of topics ranging from pharmacy solutions to CMS Star Measures to patient retention and investment strategies. Workshops and training sessions were held to provide attendees with support and information on how to leverage new and existing technologies and systems to enhance daily operations and patient interactions. 
 
In an increasingly mobile world, pharmacists are looking for digital solutions to help them connect with patients more quickly and support overall business operations. A number of new digital platforms were announced during the show, and customers could experience the programs live to learn more about the practical application in the pharmacy setting:
 
  • MyGNP Mobile App: The new app will allow for online prescription refills, and feature a store locator as well as health news;
  • Mobile friendly version of Good Neighbor Pharmacy website: The current website will now be optimized for use on all mobile devices;
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacy University: This new learning portal will offer customers training and educational opportunities that can be accessed and assigned to staff members. The interactive communication feature will let customers engage with peers who also are signed into the portal;
  • The Digital Pharmacist: A social media management program provided by our partner RxWiki. The free for NCPA members program will help customers manage their Facebook pages, revise their Google Local listings and improve their presence online; and
  • Yelp!: Good Neighbor Pharmacy will now be featured on the social media advertising app. All Good Neighbor Pharmacy members will be listed and will receive preferred pricing on advertising and profile management.
“The energy and excitement at ThoughtSpot followed pharmacists from the general session to the exhibit floor and their engagement with vendors,” said Dutch Atchley, a long-time ThoughtSpot attendee, pharmacist and owner of Ojai Rexall Drugs in Ojai, Calif. “AmerisourceBergen, Good Neighbor Pharmacy and the pharmacists here are committed to shaping the future of pharmacy, and I plan to use the tools I have acquired here to prepare for outcomes-based pharmacy and expand patient care services.” 
 
On Friday, Aug. 1, Good Neighbor Pharmacy presented Harry Race Pharmacy with the Pharmacy of the Year Award. Harry Race Pharmacy was selected through an integrated digital campaign on GoodNeighborPharmacy.com and the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Facebook page. Patients, peers, neighbors, families and friends were able to vote online after watching a short video on three finalists, who were selected across the country. 
 
“The evolving healthcare landscape presents unique issues and opportunities for community pharmacies,” said AJ Caffentzis, president of community and specialty pharmacy. “ThoughtSpot’s mission to arm independent pharmacists with practices and resources to enhance patient care and profitability. At this year’s conference, we focused on critical issues to give independent pharmacists the tools they need to learn, optimize and grow.” 
 
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BD Medical launches BD AutoShield Duo, featuring patented dual front- and back-end shields

BY Michael Johnsen

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. — BD Medical, a segment of BD, on Wednesday announced the retail pharmacy launch of BD AutoShield Duo, the only pen needle with patented dual front- and back-end shields that provides greater convenience and safety before and after injecting. The technology conceals the needle, helping to alleviate pre-injection anxiety while helping to reduce the risk of accidental needle stick for patients who inject insulin or other diabetes drugs.

 
The BD AutoShield Duo pen needle is easier to use because there is no inner needle shield to manage and no re-capping necessary, allowing people to dispose of the pen needle in a sharps container when it's convenient to help avoid risk of an accidental needle stick. A front shield automatically covers the needle before and after an injection, and a second shield passively covers the back end needle after injection. Additionally, the front shield helps conceal the needle to reduce injection-related anxiety. Many prescribers and pharmacists have reported that a less visible needle may reduce stress and other potential psychological barriers associated with injection for some patients.
 
"Diabetes is a self-managed disease that requires constant monitoring and involvement to achieve personal goals. By simplifying the steps, BD AutoShield Duo pen needles can help make insulin injection easier, safer and more convenient than ever before," said Ranjeet Banerjee, worldwide president, BD Medical – Diabetes Care. "The U.S. launch of the BD AutoShield Duo pen needle is the latest example of BD's commitment to innovation to simplify the management of diabetes for people around the world."
 
In addition to helping reduce the risk of accidental needle sticks, BD AutoShield Duo pen needles include audible and visual cues for a more confident injection experience. The front shield clicks to indicate that the needle has fully penetrated the skin, and a red band appears when the injection is completed, while the back-end shield covers the rear needle point when the pen needle is removed from the pen.
 
BD AutoShield Duo pen needles support the current American Association of Diabetes Educators practice advisory for injection technique guidelines calling for the use of shorter needles, proper site rotation and using needles only one time. It is compatible with all diabetes injection pens on the market today.
 
BD announced the retail pharmacy launch of the BD AutoShield Duo pen needle today at the American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The product is now available nationwide at major retailers and distributors.
 

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Kroger recognized for company’s commitment to employee health and wellness

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger was recognized recently for the company's commitment to employee health and wellness by both the National Business Group on Health and the American Heart Association, the grocer announced Wednesday.
 
"Kroger is committed to giving our associates the tools to improve their health in both big and small ways," stated Theresa Monti, VP total rewards. "We're making great progress in improving our health, and these awards recognize our efforts both individually and as an entire company. Our success in becoming a healthier workforce directly improves our personal and work lives, which also benefits our customers."
 
The National Business Group on Health recognized Kroger as a first-time gold winner for the 2014 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles awards. This award recognizes the best workplace well-being programs for employees and their families, both in the United States and globally.
 
For the second consecutive year, Kroger received the American Heart Association's Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite recognition. The company has been recognized for its initiative in such areas as offering employees physical activity options in the workplace, providing or increasing healthy eating options at the worksite, and demonstrating measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness.
 
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