HEALTH

Lois Adams receives Good Neighbor Pharmacy award

BY Michael Johnsen

ORLANDO, Fla. Lois Adams of Freedom Pharmacy and Wellness Center was named national Pharmacist of the Year as part of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Recognition Awards, the Orlando Business Journal reported Tuesday.

According to the report, Adams was the first woman in Florida to win the Wyeth-Bowl of Hygeia Award in 2006. In addition, she was awarded an Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award in 2004 and was named Businesswoman of the Year by the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2003.

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Loyalty program adds the ‘plus’ to consumers’ wellness

BY Michael Johnsen

Rite Aid’s wellness+, one of the few loyalty cards that proffers an actual healthcare component as one of the benefits of use, continues to be one of Rite Aid’s key marketing initiatives moving forward. The retailer boasted 16 million wellness+ members as of July 26, only 12 weeks into the program, which suggests the company is well on its way to realizing projections of 20 million members by year’s end, according to several analyst reports.

No other loyalty card program provides actual healthcare screenings as one of the benefits of using the card. “[Rite Aid’s] wellness+ is really a key support mechanism for our wellness empowerment brand-positioning,” said John Learish, Rite Aid SVP marketing. “We’ve got some pretty interesting and appealing service benefits that are attached to the program.”

For example, a wellness+ member has around-the-clock access to a pharmacist either through an 800 number or through real-time chat by logging on to the wellness+ dashboard online. And when a customer reaches 500 points, Rite Aid offers a free healthcare screening, measuring blood glucose and total cholesterol. “It’s really a combination of the health benefits…with the savings benefits, that really differentiates this program,” Learish said.

The healthcare component associated with the program is one of those intangibles that helps distinguish Rite Aid’s loyalty card from others on the market, especially as consumers today can rattle their keychains with a host of retailers’ loyalty cards. But none of those programs tie pharmacy into the front-end, and vice versa, quite like Rite Aid does. Only three months into the program, more than one-third of front-end sales (37%) and prescriptions filled (36%) are being made by wellness+ cardholders, according to Rite Aid’s June 23 analyst call.

Rite Aid also is generating quite a bit of marketing data through the card, enabling the retailer to better target market-specific customer groups. “We’re getting some very interesting views into the data,” Learish noted. “We’ve got a lot of transactions coming through now, enough to make the data really meaningful. Across every single metric—average basket size, average units/basket, scripts/basket, margin—the wellness+ customer on all of those metrics dramatically exceeds the non-wellness+ customer.”

Going forward, as that data stream continues to become more robust, Rite Aid will be better able to target front-end-only customers and convert them into crossover customers—customers who both fill their prescriptions at Rite Aid and shop the front-end. For example, a cardholder identified as a front-end-only shopper now can be target-marketed around the benefits of transferring his or her prescriptions to Rite Aid—a $25 gift card and a much faster way to accumulate wellness+ points.

And the potential to capture and grow the number of prescription patients is significant. According to the chain’s annual meeting presentation, 71% of Rite Aid’s total shopper base currently shop the front-end only; and 24% shop both the front-end and fill prescriptions at the Rite Aid pharmacy. However, looking only at the prescription patients serviced by Rite Aid, 85% of those customers also shop the front-end.

So, enticing more patients to transfer their prescriptions to Rite Aid not only should boost pharmacy sales, but front-end sales as well. Pilot stores that tested the wellness+ offering before its national launch in April boasted a $37.09 average basket size, compared with an average basket size of $35.01 in those stores that did not yet offer wellness+ during the program’s pilot phase.

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RCEC honors NPs during first Nat’l Clinic Week

BY Antoinette Alexander

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. —This year’s third annual Retail Clinician Education Congress, which was held at the whimsically themed Swan and Dolphin Resort located at the doorstep of Walt Disney’s Epcot, was especially “magical” as it attracted nearly 500 nurse practitioners and was held during the first official National Convenient Care Clinic Week.

“The reality is that we need accessible and affordable options for primary healthcare services, and all of you provide that and are part of a larger healthcare system,” Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the Convenient Care Association, told attendees.

Retail Clinician magazine, in conjunction with the Convenient Care Association, hosted the event Aug. 2 to 4. It convened in line with the start of National Convenient Care Clinic Week, which became official when Sens. Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., introduced Senate resolution 585.

Kicking off the conference, Lt. Col. Corina Barrow of the Army Nurse Corps and currently the Nurse Corps Detailee for Inouye, welcomed attendees and read from the resolution presented on the Senate floor by Inouye on July 22: “Mr. President, today I rise to recognize all of the providers who work in retail-based convenient care clinics and the resolution to designate Aug. 2 to Aug. 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week. National Convenient Care Clinic Week will provide a national platform from which to promote the pivotal services offered by the more than 1,100 retail-based convenient care clinics in the United States. Today, thousands of nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians provide care in convenient care clinics at a time when Americans are more and more challenged by the inaccessibility and high cost of health care.”

The three-day event included a panel discussion on the “Past, Present and Future of Convenient Care”—comprised of panelists Ken Berndt, director of Bellin FastCare; Web Golinkin, president and CEO of RediClinic; Sandy Ryan, chief nurse practitioner officer of Take Care Health Systems; Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic; and Cynthia Graff, president and CEO of Lindora—as well as a keynote presentation on “The Future of Nursing” by Susan Hassmiller, senior adviser for nursing and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine.

Nurse practitioners also participated in more than 14 live hours of continuing education, with topics ranging from the management of diabetes to identifying pediatric emergencies to respiratory conditions and treatments. The conference also featured an exhibit hall area where 25 different supplier companies demonstrated products for attendees.

In addition, the Retail Clinician/CCA CARE awards (see story) honored nurse practitioners, clinic leadership and those outside of the industry whose support has helped advance the model.

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