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McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions research finds that patients seek personalized healthcare information

BY Michael Johnsen

 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — New patient research commissioned by McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions identified emerging trends in medication adherence, the use of co-pay cards, and attitudes towards healthcare providers, including both physicians and pharmacists. According to the research, an increasing number of patients do not fully understand their medical condition and are more interested in personal communications from their healthcare practitioners around their condition. And increasingly, that communication is coming from their neighborhood pharmacist. 
 
While patients are concerned about their condition and committed to working to remain healthy, an increasing number do not fully understand their condition. Compared to previous patient research conducted by MPRS, 61% of patients were more concerned about their condition than any other health issue in 2014 versus only 33% in 2011. However, more patients indicated they do not understand their condition compared to 2011. Nearly one-third (31%) of patients wish their doctor would spend more time with them to explain their condition and their medication. While 80% claim to be compliant and take their medications as directed, an increasing number of patients claim to be more forgetful or careless about taking their medication or stop taking it when they feel better. 
 
However, patients are more informed and engaged in their own healthcare than ever before. Research shows that patients are less interested in general information about their condition and more interested in personal communications from various healthcare industry players in the form of missed prescription reminders (89%), refill reminders (87%), live phone support (86%) and pharmacist coaching (83%). This provides an opportunity for physicians, pharmacists, payers and pharmaceutical manufacturers to integrate efforts designed to better manage health and chronic disease, optimize patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs.
 
And patients are increasingly satisfied (94%) with their primary retail pharmacy experience and today, more than half (52%) rely on their pharmacist for information about their medication, including side effects. While physicians (47%) remain the primary source from which patients learn about co-pay cards and discount options, an increasing number are seeking information from their pharmacist (34%) and other sources. More than one third (36%) of patients indicated that they have asked their pharmacist about options for lower cost medications and 71% indicated they would be more likely to fill their prescription if the pharmacist provided a medication discount card/coupon.
 
“Improving medication adherence is a key driver of reform and quality of patient care is rapidly becoming a primary metric for how healthcare providers are evaluated. Through the application of innovative behavioral techniques designed to help patients overcome both financial and clinical barriers to adherence, we are extremely proud to offer a comprehensive suite of programs and solutions designed to help achieve healthier patient outcomes and our research reinforces that success starts with understanding the patient,” stated Derek Rago, VP/general manager, McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions.“As the industry shifts from a transactional healthcare system to a highly integrated, value-based model, the role of the retail pharmacist is rapidly evolving. As one of the most trusted and accessible community healthcare professionals, retail pharmacy is now driving innovation designed to deliver patient education, adherence support, and financial assistance.”
 
The research spanned across six therapeutic categories and findings were compared to MPRS’s 2011 patient research. Highlights of the findings were recently presented at the CBI Coupon and Co-Pay Off-set Strategies conference, where MPRS, a division of McKesson, served as the educational sponsor.
 
In conjunction with American Pharmacists Month, MPRS also announced that it has developed a detailed discussion of the growing role of pharmacists in medication adherence and quality patient care. Download “The Transformation of Pharmacy: Understanding and Leveraging the Rapidly Changing Retail Environment” whitepaper from McKesson. 
 

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WSJ: Amazon.com to open brick-and-mortar location in Manhattan

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Amazon.com will be opening its first brick-and-mortar store in midtown Manhattan, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal published Thursday, citing people familiar with the plans.  
 
The site is expected to open on 34th St. for the holiday-shopping season. 
 
According to the report, the site will primarily serve as a click-and-pick-up location but will also serve as a distribution center for local couriers. 
 
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Family Dollar Stores generate $10.5 billion in fiscal 2014, up 0.9%

BY Michael Johnsen

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores on Wednesday reported a 0.9% increase in total net sales for fiscal 2014 to $10.5 billion for the year ended Aug. 30. 
 
Consistent with the National Retail Federation Calendar, the company’s fiscal 2013 included 53 weeks as compared to 52 weeks in fiscal 2014. The company estimates this extra week contributed approximately $189 million in sales. Excluding this extra week, total net sales for fiscal 2014 increased 2.8% as compared to fiscal 2013. Comparable store sales in fiscal 2014 decreased 2.1% as a result of fewer customer transactions, partially offset by an increase in the average customer transaction value. Sales were strongest in the consumables category, driven primarily by strong growth in refrigerated/frozen food and tobacco.
 
Total net sales for the fourth quarter ended August 30 increased 4.5% to $2.6 billion. Comparable store sales for the 13-week period increased 0.3% as a result of an increase in the average customer transaction value, partially offset by fewer customer transactions. Sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 were strongest in the consumables and seasonal and electronics categories.
 
“Although our fourth quarter results continue to reflect the difficult competitive environment, as well as the financial challenges facing our customers, we are continuing to execute our previously announced restructuring initiatives to improve our performance,” stated Howard Levine, Familyh Dollar chairman and CEO. “While we are still in the early stages of our turnaround plan, we believe that the strategic actions taken in fiscal 2014 will position the Company for better sales and earnings performance in fiscal 2015. We anticipate that the first quarter will be our most challenging quarter of fiscal 2015, but we expect momentum will build as we move through the rest of the year.”
 
Over the course of the fourth quarter, Family Dollar implemented a series of restructuring initiatives, including the closing of 375 underperforming stores. As a result, the company incurred $10.4 million in inventory write-downs in an effort to sell through merchandise at stores scheduled to close.
 
During fiscal 2014, the company opened 526 new stores, closed 400 stores, and renovated, relocated or expanded 738 stores. The company expects to open approximately 375 new stores, close approximately 40 stores, and renovate, relocate or expand 775 stores in fiscal 2015.
 
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