PHARMACY

Building loyalty through satisfaction

BY Jim Frederick

What supermarket pharmacy provider scores highest in consumer satisfaction? That would be Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets, the largest employee-owned U.S. grocery chain.

(Click here to view the full report.)

In the annual J.D. Power and Associate Satisfaction Survey, released in December 2014, Publix Pharmacy ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction in the supermarket segment for the fifth year in a row. Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said the survey “validates our focus on the customer experience within our stores. We are committed to exceeding our customers’ expectations and helping them achieve their health-and-wellness goals.”

Publix also earned the top score among all large food and drug retailers in the 2015 Temkin Experience Ratings, which ranks quality of customer experience across 20 industries.

The chain’s pharmacies offer a growing battery of preventive services, including low-cost, five-minute cholesterol screenings by appointment; free blood-pressure screenings with counseling; vaccinations for a variety of conditions; and free pharmacist-led mini-seminars on good nutritional choices, understanding food labels and monitoring glucose levels.

Publix also has built a deep reservoir of goodwill through its prescription giveaway program, which provides free 30-day supplies of several widely used medications, including antibiotics, metformin and lisinopril. By the end of April of this year, Brous said, “we will have filled more than 50 million free prescription medications during our free script program.”

In addition, Publix is among the growing army of pharmacy operators that have embraced medication synchronization as a tool for boosting drug adherence and pharmacist counseling.

Publix also continues its steady expansion across the Southeast. “Overall, we are on target to open approximately 20 new stores in 2015,” Brous told Drug Store News.

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PHARMACY

Technology, personnel growth eyed

BY Antoinette Alexander

With its treasure-hunt style shopping and broad array of brand and private-label products at attractive prices, Costco has successfully carved out a unique business model that resonates with its 76 million cardholders. As the company continues to expand its merchandise offerings on the front end, its pharmacy operations remain a critical piece of the business.

(Click here to view the full report.)

“I’m always on the lookout for models in which you can make the pharmacist more forward-facing. I feel like the future of the pharmacy will be more patient centered,” Michael Mastromonica, Costco’s assistant VP pharmacy services, told Drug Store News.

As healthcare reform gives rise to new models of care and new quality standards, Costco is stepping up to meet patient needs.

As part of the effort, Costco is preparing to implement in the pharmacy in the coming months a new technology tool for outcomes management, with a specific focus on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Star Ratings. The software will allow the retailer to, for example, identify those pharmacy patients who are at risk and nonadherent.

In addition, Costco is looking to hire a clinical pharmacist, who will be solely focused on outcomes opportunities and Star ratings.

Meanwhile, Costco’s travel medicine pilot continues to take flight. The program is currently in operation in about 18 beta sites along the West Coast, and will further expand to additional locations in 2015 and 2016.

Costco contracts with a physician group to handle the analytics and make the recommendations. Costco pharmacists administer the vaccines for its travel vaccination program.

The company also is looking to broaden its long-standing health screening initiative, which has included osteoporosis, cardiovascular and lung health screenings, to add A1C testing to the mix for those with diabetes.

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PHARMACY

Personalizing pharmacy experience

BY Jim Frederick

With 544 pharmacies in 44 states — as well as more than 230 stores in Canada, China, India, Japan and the United Arab Emirates — Medicine Shoppe International has carved a niche in community pharmacy as an apothecary-style source for both personalized prescription counseling and specialized disease management expertise.

(Click here to view the full report.)

Last fall, Cardinal cast a wider net to prospective franchise owners by launching a co-branding option that allows independent pharmacies joining the network to maintain their own store identity and still gain the benefits of franchise membership. Among those benefits is enrollment in MSI’s Pharmacy Services Administration Organization, along with related managed care services to help them gain access to commercial, Medicare and longterm care; immunization; and rural payer networks, according to MSI VP John Fiacco. They also qualify for other Cardinal and Medicine Shoppe resources, including the EQuIPP and LearnSomething software programs to track and measure performance.

The co-branding option “brings the best of both worlds to independent pharmacy,” Fiacco said. “Now, community pharmacies can continue to maintain the local store names their patients have come to know and trust, while also tapping into the equity and awareness of a national brand.”

Among the basic services offered by Medicine Shoppe and Medicap pharmacy owners are health screenings without an appointment, comprehensive medication reviews and “robust, two-way communication” with patients, Cardinal reported, as well as home delivery of prescriptions.

Some Medicine Shoppe pharmacies go further, setting themselves up as Specialized Care Centers, which “concentrate their care on a particular health focus — such as diabetes, heart health, immunizations, home health care or long-term care — to help patients manage their unique healthcare needs,” according to Medicine Shoppe.

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