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GreatCall launches suite of connected health-and-safety products and services through Rite Aid

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO — GreatCall on Wednesday announced that its suite of connected health and safety products and services is available in more than 4,000 Rite Aid pharmacies nationwide. By offering mobile health solutions in-store and integrating their wellness initiatives at Rite Aid pharmacies, GreatCall is transforming health care for the way shoppers age, the company stated.

The rollout of GreatCall’s lineup, including the Touch3 smartphone Splash mobile medical alert device and Jitterbug5 flip phone — and through them, a portfolio of health and safety services at Rite Aid — will be completed by mid-October 2014. The custom displays include the full product range, demo phones and brochures.
 
“Today’s older adults are redefining the way we age, and GreatCall’s mission is to provide them with usable solutions to keep them thriving,” stated Bill Yates, CMO of GreatCall. “Through Rite Aid, a company that shares our mission, we are bringing this vision to life. This is a critical step in a broader active aging strategy.”
 
The companies’ shared commitment to wellness aligns at a number of levels, from the Rite Aid pharmacy app that comes preloaded on all Touch3 smartphones sold at Rite Aid to a much broader focus on the 65+ market and the collateral and outreach to support it.
 
GreatCall’s active aging services include:
 
  • 5Star service – U.S.-based NAED Certified Response agents use the phone’s GPS and information provided in the user’s personal profile, to confirm the user’s location and effectively evaluate the situation. Agents provide the connection to whichever emergency services are required, from medication questions to emergency dispatch services;
  • Urgent Care provides 24/7 unlimited access to speak with registered nurses or board certified doctors anytime, anywhere without having to travel to a doctor’s office or make a copayment;
  • MedCoach medication reminder app enables users to easily follow medication schedules as prescribed by their doctors;
  • The GreatCall Link app gives family caregivers peace of mind by providing both critical information in an urgent situation and snapshots of normal daily activities. Friends and family who download the Link app to their smartphone will receive an alert when the user of a GreatCall device contacts a 5Star agent in an emergency, including the date, time of call and type of help provided. In addition, the app provides information on daily events such as current locations, power status, and a list of activities to ensure that daily routines are normal and the device is charged and in use;
  • Brain Games improve cognitive functions, improve memory and sharpen focus while providing fun; and
  • Check-in Calls are friendly, automated calls that can be scheduled to check in on a family member, providing peace of mind.
 

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CVS Health Research Institute evaluates quality of care at MinuteClinic for acute ailments

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — New data from CVS Health that examined quality of care for acute conditions at retail clinics, such as MinuteClinic, underscores previous research in suggesting that care at clinics for common acute conditions is the same or better than the care delivered in more costly settings like emergency rooms and urgent care centers.

Researchers from CVS Health Research Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital published the findings in the October issue of The American Journal of Managed Care.

This study of 75,000 patients based on data from a major insurer is the largest to date evaluating the quality of care for acute conditions at retail clinics as compared with other care settings. Quality of care was assessed using 14 measures constructed from Rand Corp.'s Quality Assurance Tools as well as guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Family Practitioners and the Infectious Disease Society of America.

"As we all work to manage rising costs while dealing with a shortage of primary care physicians, identifying high quality health care delivery systems that provide convenient access to affordable care is increasingly important," stated William Shrank, chief scientific officer, CVS Health. "This study is the largest to date evaluating the quality of care for acute conditions at retail clinics such as MinuteClinic, and the findings are consistent with previous research in suggesting that care at retail clinics for common acute conditions is the same or better than the care delivered in more costly EDs and urgent care facilities."

When taken together with evidence that retail clinics are most cost effective and even cost-saving to patients, these results underscore the promise of retail clinics in offering care of high quality at lower cost than other settings. It also points to the potential role of retail clinics in improving care coordination for chronic disease management and population health management, according to CVS Health.

"MinuteClinic has long been focused on providing accessible, high quality, affordable health care that is complimentary and supportive of the primary care provider," stated Andrew Sussman, president, CVS/minuteclinic, and SVP/associate chief medical officer, CVS Health. "This data reiterates the high level of quality care provided by our MinuteClinic practitioners and suggests the important role our clinics can play in the rapidly evolving health care landscape."

The CVS Health Research Institute is focused on contributing to the body of scientific knowledge related to pharmacy and health care through research collaborations with external academic institutions, participation in federally-funded research, analysis and sharing of CVS Health data sources and coordination of pilot programs and initiatives.
 

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Dollar General to build 13th DC in San Antonio

BY Michael Johnsen

 

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Dollar General on Thursday announced plans to build a new state-of-the-art distribution center in San Antonio. It will be the 13th facility in the retailer’s growing distribution network.
 
“This distribution center is another important investment in the growth of Dollar General and our substantial presence in Texas where we have nearly 1,200 stores and more than 9,400 employees,” said Rick Dreiling, chairman and CEO of Dollar General. “We operate more stores in the Lone Star state than in any other state and we have found Texas is a great place to do business. We are proud to continue investing in the economic growth of Texas and we look forward to bringing an additional 530 jobs to Bexar County.”
 
The company has begun the process of preparing the land to build a 900,000+ square-foot facility on 110 acres at South Foster Industrial Park. At full capacity, the Dollar General facility is expected to serve more than 1,000 stores in Texas and the surrounding region. Dollar General plans to begin hiring in summer 2015 with operations expected to begin in October 2015.
 
Dollar General currently has 61 stores in Bexar County with more than 460 employees. With the completion of this project, Dollar General expects to have nearly 1,000 employees in Bexar County. Additionally, Dollar General’s third-party transportation provider expects to employ 90 drivers.
 
“On behalf of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, we are pleased that Dollar General chose to locate its newest distribution center in Bexar County,” stated San Antonio Economic Development Foundation Chair Steve Waters. “The Institute for Economic Development at UTSA has estimated the economic impact of this investment to exceed $750 million over the next 10 years. When fully realized, these 500-plus jobs will contribute to prosperity in Bexar County and the surrounding area in the coming years.”
 
“The distribution center will serve as a great anchor for the South Foster Industrial Park, and further solidify Bexar County’s stature as a prime logistics hub,” County Judge Nelson Wolff said.
 
Dollar General’s 12 other distribution centers are located in Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
 

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