Roadside drives growth through franchises
FORT MYERS, Fla. —Truck drivers don’t drive down the road at night with their lights off, and they should manage their health care in the same responsible fashion. That’s the message that Bob Perry, president of Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab, conveys to the 4.2 million truck drivers on the road nationwide.
This clinic operator first took to the open road in 2008, when it opened its first location at the Pilot Travel Center in Cartersville, Ga. Today, there are three clinics in operation, with 80 sites slated to be in operation within the next two or two-and-a-half years, largely through licensing and franchising agreements. The cost: roughly $250,000 to get a clinic up and running for the first year.
In August it was announced that emergency room physician Royce Brough had received licenses for 11 Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab sites throughout Texas, California, New Mexico, New Jersey, Indiana and Oklahoma. The site in Oklahoma City is expected to open by year’s end, followed by Dallas in the first quarter 2010. The remaining sites will open “as quickly as possible.”
BY THE NUMBERS
|No. of clinics||3|
|Projected No. of clinics||80|
“The beauty of partnering with someone like Pilot Travel Centers is that they already have the metrics figured out. They open those locations and put them in destination places for a reason, so we’ve went in and picked out the most high-traffic areas where there’s a lot of freight brought in and distributed,” Perry said. “With the 80 clinics, a driver can get to us in five or six hours out there on the highway.”
In some ways, the clinics are similar to a retail-based model in that they are walk-in clinics staffed by a physician or nurse practitioner, depending on state regulations, and offer such services as acute care and vaccinations. Through its partnership with TeleMedExperts, a provider of electronic medical health record and tele-medicine technology, the drivers essentially are equipped with a traveling health record that can be accessed at any Roadside location. However, there are many ways in which the model is quite unique.
In addition to treating acute ailments, the clinic operator offers D.O.T. drug screenings and D.O.T. physicals, as well as an array of wellness services. For example, the Roadside Medical Driver Wellness Program offers unlimited one-on-one telephone health coaching, a wellness kit, free 30-day health check, and exercise and nutrition guides. There also is a new Driver Body Fuel Kit for $74.95, which includes protein shake mix, a daily supplement vitamin pack, B-12 High Octane Vitamin Drops, a shaker cup, a healthy grocery list, a nutritional guide brochure and a free health check every 30 days at any Roadside clinic.
The company also has introduced a new meal-on-the-go program where drivers can stop in and get a meal to go to keep in their cabs. Meals include wild salmon with vegetables, three beans with sweet corn, and tuna and pasta.
“We are really helping them to fight these struggles because when they are on the road, they just don’t have the choices. What we are about is trying to get them to move the needle a little bit every day,” Perry said. “We just launched our new campaign with Dan, a professional driver. Dan is down 56 lbs. in five months.”
Anyone who knows Perry likely is not surprised that much of Roadside’s focus is on healthy living and wellness. In addition to owning and operating health-and-wellness centers, Perry has been an ROI/wellness consultant for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente and the FOX Network, helping launch Fit-TV, a 24-hour health-and-fitness channel.
Another major health issue for truck drivers is sleep apnea, so at night, after the clinics close, they are transformed into sleep labs for supervised sleep studies to help reduce fatigue-related accidents. According to a study sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier’s Safety Administration and the American Trucking Association, nearly 1.1 million commercial truck drivers are affected by sleep apnea. This is defined as the struggle to breathe during sleep that can lead to many other health problems, including excessive daytime sleepiness, heart disease, hypertension and stroke.
“Twenty some years ago I thought, ‘We have to bring a service to this industry; if we can bring a service that has real value, these drivers will come.’ That’s the reason why when we were flushing out the concept, I said this is going to be more than just medical services because we need to create a bond with this disenfranchised population and offer them true value services,” Perry said. “If we hold their hands and treat them with respect, they will tell their fellowship out there, and they will help drive the business.”
Late-stage clinical trial results: MS drug is effective
ALISO VIEJO, Calif. Patients taking an investigational drug for multiple sclerosis fared better than those taking placebo, according to late-stage clinical results presented Friday at a neurology conference.
Avanir Pharmaceuticals said MS patients taking Zenvia (dextromethorphan and quinidine) in 30 mg/10 mg doses experienced a 11.9% greater reduction in pseudobulbar effect – an MS-related condition also known as PBA that causes sudden, uncontrollable episodes of laughter, crying and other emotional outbursts – than those taking placebo in a 12-week phase 3 trial, results of which the company presented at the 3rd World Congress on Controversies in Neurology in Prague, Czech Republic. Patients taking the 20 mg/10 mg dose did not do better than the placebo group.
“PBA represents an area of high, unmet medical need with no FDA-approved treatments currently available,” study presenter and trial steering committee member Daniel Wynn of the Consultants in Neurology Multiple Sclerosis Center stated. “Although the involuntary emotional outbursts of PBA cause considerable impairment for millions of individuals in the United States, it is under-recognized and commonly misdiagnosed.”
New report projects 12.6% increase of probiotics market
NEW YORK The two takeaways from this story are “the [U.S.] market is expected to grow at a rate of almost 14%” and “the early movers in the industry will benefit in terms of market share.”
That about describes the opportunity in a probiotic nutshell.
The rising interest in probiotics can be credited in part to Dannon’s Activia brand, a line of yogurts and yogurt drinks, which has been heavily advertised to the American consumer with the message that not all bacteria is bad for you — and in fact some bacteria taken on a regular basis can impart some pretty significant health benefits. That advertising message — that probiotics can be an important piece in a healthier-for-you diet — has been all the more reinforced as Bayer supports its probiotic Phillips Colon Health, and as Procter & Gamble rolls out its Align probiotic.
And the consumers already are core drug store shoppers. The ratio of women to men in search of a product delivering digestive benefits is about 2-to-1, according to industry experts. When women hit their 30s and 40s, that’s the point in their lives when they’re looking for a strategy in life to help them manage their digestive issues.