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.

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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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PHARMACY

Health and beauty share spotlight

BY Richard Monks

The Jean Coutu Group provides shoppers in three Canadian provinces with what has become a hallmark of 21st century drug store retailing.

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Combining top-notch health care with one of the industry’s most comprehensive and visually appealing beauty care offerings, the 413-store chain gives shoppers across Quebec and parts of New Foundland and Ontario aspects of both mass retailing and specialty stores.

A spokeswoman explained that the company’s extensive selection of mass market and prestige brands — many of them unique to Jean Coutu stores — are merchandised in upscale departments staffed by trained cosmeticians, helping the chain attract shoppers who would otherwise shop for these products only in upscale outlets.

At the same time, an intense focus on health and wellness make the company’s stores the go-to retailer for prescription drugs and related products.

As in the United States, the evolution of Canada’s government-funded health system in recent years has seen pharmacists take on a greater role in patient care.

Jean Coutu has been at the forefront of this shift. The Pro Doc generic drug manufacturing unit it has operated since 2007, for instance, has allowed the company to be at the heart of the national movement toward greater use of generic drugs.

Jean Coutu’s commitment to providing patients with a comprehensive healthcare offering has also helped it move into the orthotic and prosthetic devices arena through a partnership with Le Groupe Medicus Inc.

Executives said these expanded healthcare services help Jean Coutu’s pharmacies offer a wider range of services, complementing the wide array of more programs and services that they have traditionally offered.

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Increasing focus on diabetes care

BY Michael Johnsen

Ahold USA’s COO James McCann earlier this year outlined the driving force behind the supermarket operator’s overarching initiatives — improve customer perceptions of its U.S. operations across quality and service, as well as price. Operating under the Stop & Shop, Giant/ Martin’s and Giant Landover banners, Ahold USA’s high-touch pharmacy business aims to do just that through its focus on diabetes care, Brad Dayton, Ahold USA VP pharmacy, told Drug Store News. “[Through these initiatives], we believe that we can influence customers’ health outcomes and, consequently, their overall healthcare spend,” he said.

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Today, more than 400 Ahold USA pharmacists are specially trained and certified in patient-centered diabetes care, and that will extend to all of Ahold USA’s pharmacy operations by yearend. “These pharmacists are engaging their patients in ways we’ve never done before,” Dayton said. “From one-on-one consultations to in-store diabetes management classes, we’re reaching patients in innovative and relevant ways.”

Joining Ahold USA pharmacists on the frontline of health delivery is the company’s in-store nutritionists. “We’re fortunate to have an ever-growing stable of nutritionists in the stores, and we’re leveraging their expertise in unique ways,” Dayton said. For example, many nutritionists and diabetes care pharmacists are teaming up to lead diabetes management classes at their stores and in the community.

Additionally, Ahold USA nutritionists recently created a web-based learning module to give pharmacists practical nutritional advice that they can incorporate into conversations with their patients about heart disease and diabetes. “Maintaining a proper diet is as important as medication for conditions like heart disease and diabetes. The unfortunate reality, however, is that many pharmacists feel uncomfortable discussing nutrition with their patients. We’ve taken some steps to build our pharmacists’ nutritional IQ, and, as a result, their confidence,” Dayton said.

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