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Pharmacists worldwide encouraged to participate in ‘World Pharmacists Day 2015’ on Sept. 25

BY Antoinette Alexander

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Pharmacists around the globe are being called upon by the International Pharmaceutical Federation to take part in World Pharmacists Day 2015 through social media on Thursday.

The FIP has created a microsite on Twibbon where people can add their picture to the World Pharmacists Day logo and then use this personalized logo on their FaceBook and Twitter accounts.

The slogan for this year’s World Pharmacists Day is “Access to pharmacists is access to health.”

“Access to health is not just an economic issue. It is also about access to medicines, which has big research and evidence elements, access to correct information and advice, and access to education. The current Ebola emergency provides a good illustration. Research is vital if a vaccine or cure for this deadly disease is to be found. Moreover, it is essential for people to have good information. We have heard, for example, reports that people in Nigeria have died because they were led to believe that drinking salt water would prevent or cure infection. We know that pharmacists in affected countries are offering reliable advice and playing an important part in education and dispelling such myths,” said FIP’s president Carmen Peña.

FIP’s CEO and general secretary, Luc Besançon, added that World Pharmacists Day is a good opportunity to highlight the impact and added value of the pharmacy profession and its role in improving health to authorities, other professions and the media as well as to the general public.

FIP’s member organizations have been busy preparing to mark this year’s World Pharmacists Day. Portugal, for example, has chosen Sept. 25 to launch a year-long campaign on the responsible use of medicines, and the FIP is informed that Zimbabwe’s pharmacists will celebrate with a walk into Africa Unity Square in Harare, which will be followed by speeches and media interviews.

The FIP will be compiling a 2014 World Pharmacists Day album and is inviting people to send in images of their World Pharmacists Day activities and celebrations so that they can be shared with colleagues around the world. Pictures and captions can be sent to fip@fip.org.

World Pharmacists Day, which is in its fourth year, was adopted by the FIP Council at the 2009 World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Istanbul, Turkey. Sept. 25 was chosen because it is the date that the FIP came into existence in 1912.

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Fueled by digital, holiday sales expected to increase 4% to 4.5%

BY Ryan Chavis

NEW YORK — As the nation continues to move slowly toward economic improvement, stores and online retail outlets should expect to see an uptick in holiday sales this year, according to Deloitte's annual retail holiday sales forecast. Income, wage and job growth are all good indicators as businesses head into the holiday season, said Deloitte's senior U.S. economist, Daniel Bachman.

"Although consumers are watching tensions unfold in the Middle East and Ukraine, the improvement in their economic situation should more than offset the foreign conflicts’ impact on consumer confidence and retail sales," Bachman said.

Deloitte said that digital interactions will influence 50% (or $345 billion) of retail store sales for the upcoming holiday season. The number is an indicator of the increasing presence of how digital tools — laptop computers, tablets and smartphones — will influence sales at brick-and-mortar store locations.

“While online sales continue to climb, digital customer interactions through both virtual and physical store channels present greater sales opportunities than online or mobile commerce alone,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail and distribution sector leader. “Our research indicates that 84% of shoppers use digital tools before and during their trip to a store. Additionally, those shoppers convert, or make a purchase, at a 40% higher rate than those who do not use such devices during their shopping journey.”

Paul added that retailers should pinpoint what functionality is best for them when crafting digital experiences for their stores this holiday season.

"Rather than offer their full e-commerce site on a mobile device, for example, retailers may be more effective by helping consumers compare prices, scan through local assortments, and navigate the store," Paul said. "Retailers that better understand how consumers make purchasing decisions, then deliver tools that support that process in a way that is consistent and complementary across online, mobile and store channels — may have the advantage this holiday season.”

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CVS Health forms clinical affiliations with three academic medical centers

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health has entered into new clinical affiliations with three academic medical centers — the University of Maryland Medical System, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System — to enhance access to care for patients.

Through these clinical affiliations, the patients served by these medical centers will continue to have access to clinical support, medication counseling, chronic-disease monitoring and wellness programs at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic. In addition, CVS Health will provide prescription and visit information to the participating medical centers through the integration of secured electronic medical record systems.

"We look forward to working with these leading medical centers to develop collaborative programs that improve patient outcomes, lower costs and help people on their path to better health," said Troyen A. Brennan, chief medical officer, CVS Health. "Through these clinical affiliations, we will also be integrating our electronic medical records and information systems to enable us to support patients with medication counseling and chronic disease monitoring."

The healthcare providers at the participating medical centers will receive data on interventions conducted by CVS pharmacists to improve medication adherence for their patients. The affiliation also encourages collaboration between the healthcare providers and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Physicians affiliated with the participating medical centers will collaborate with MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants to work closely on joint clinical programs and care coordination activities. If more comprehensive care is needed, patients can follow up with their primary care provider and have access to the services at the medical center as appropriate. For those patients who do not have regular access to health care, MinuteClinic provides assistance in finding a primary care physician and a greater opportunity for continuity of healthcare services.

"Finding cost-effective ways to increase access to care continues to be important, especially in this era of healthcare reform, and we are pleased to work together with these healthcare providers to help coordinate comprehensive care for their patients. Many patients rely on their local pharmacist for information and support regarding their prescription medications and these affiliations enable CVS pharmacists to help improve affiliated healthcare providers' patient health outcomes through better medication adherence. MinuteClinic also plays an important role by providing patients with timely, affordable and high-quality walk-in health care," Brennan said.

MinuteClinic, CVS/pharmacy and the participating medical centers will begin to work toward integrating EMR systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual patient's care. This integration will include the electronic sharing of messages and alerts from CVS/pharmacy to the medical centers' physicians regarding potential medication non-adherence issues. In addition, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with the patient's primary care provider when they are a member of a participating healthcare provider. MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers who are not affiliated with one of these participating medical centers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours, with patient consent.

The new clinical affiliations announced here bring the total number of health system and healthcare provider affiliations for CVS Health and MinuteClinic to 44 major health systems and healthcare providers across the country.

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