PHARMACY

Expanding digital resources

BY Richard Monks

Kmart has diligently worked to ensure that its pharmacies are the outlets of choice for customers. “Our pharmacists take a different approach,” VP of public relations and member communications Jamie Stein said. “Kmart pharmacists are member- and patient-centric, providing differentiated personalized service. They are well connected in their communities, are medication therapy management-trained and immunization-certified. We are focused on healthcare content, products and personalized attention that, when combined, provide ‘Service with a Healthy Dose of Care,’” she said.

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Among the more unique offerings at Kmart pharmacies are a free flavoring for liquid prescriptions or over-the counter medications; free, no-appointment immunization screenings; the Shop Your Way pharmacy rewards program, giving patients who fill five prescriptions $10 in reward points that can be redeemed for non-pharmacy merchandise at any Kmart or Sears store or online; and an auto refill service that is helping the company move towards offering full medication synchronization.

Last year, Kmart pharmacy expanded its offering by entered the specialty pharmacy sector through a partnership with Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy.

This year, Stein said, Kmart is introducing a mobile app that makes it easier for pharmacy patients to manage their prescriptions on the go. The app will remind users when a prescription is ready for pickup, when to take medication and when a refill is due.

In an effort to make its pharmacists more accessible, Kmart recently added an Ask a Pharmacist feature to kmartpharmacy.com, allowing patients to get free advice 24 hours a day.

The company’s position in the discount space also has allowed it to partner with a variety of other online health-and-wellness providers — including JillianMichaels.com, Lose It!, Snap Fitness, Care.com, Doctor on Demand and American Well.

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PHARMACY

Offering infusion, specialty services

BY Jim Frederick

The past year has been eventful for Diplomat. In October 2014, the company went public with its first initial stock offering. But as it shifts its financial structure, Diplomat retains its core focus: Providing “medication management programs for people with complex chronic diseases, including oncology, immunology, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, HIV, specialized infusion therapy and many other serious or long-term conditions” in all 50 states.

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In March of this year, Diplomat acquired BioRx, a highly specialized pharmacy and infusion services company that provides treatments for patients with ultra-orphan and rare, chronic diseases. “The combined resources of both companies will make us much stronger and unique within the infusion services industry,” said chairman and CEO Phil Hagerman. The purchase, for $315 million in cash and Diplomat stock, gave a big boost to the company’s growing presence in drug infusion therapy.

Diplomat has been on a mission to vastly extend its reach into the infusion services market since December 2013, when it acquired AHF, which provides specialty drugs and infusion services for bleeding disorders. In June 2014, Diplomat also bought out MedPro, another specialty pharmacy focused on infusion for hemophilia and immune globulin.

Diplomat’s retail service division positions itself securely in that difficult terrain that lies between patients with serious chronic conditions who depend on complex, hands-on drug treatment regimens, and traditional pharmacy retailers that need outside expertise and help to serve those special-needs patients.

“Retail specialty services connects a retail pharmacy business to the specialty arena,” Diplomat stated. “Based on our broad industry experience, infrastructure and unique treatment-tracking software, retail specialty services.”

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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.

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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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