PHARMACY

Select Hometown Pharmacy locations offering free flu, strep tests

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEWAYGO, Mich. — Joining the ranks of Hy-Vee and Meijer, HomeTown Pharmacy, which is based here in Newaygo, has announced that it is now offering free flu and strep throat testing as part of a collaborative patient care study.

Thirteen statewide HomeTown Pharmacy locations are now offering on-site testing and medications for treatment of influenza and strep throat as part of a study with the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy and Ferris State University in a pilot project to determine the cost-effectiveness and patient acceptance of rapid diagnostic testing in community retail pharmacies.

Select HomeTown pharmacists have been certificate-trained in a program developed by professors from each university conducting the study and sponsored by the Michigan Pharmacists Association. Eligible patients will be tested for either influenza or strep throat by a trained pharmacist, at the pharmacy, using noninvasive and FDA-cleared rapid diagnostic tests.
 

In the event of a positive test, the pharmacist is able to dispense the appropriate prescription medication to treat the condition, based on protocol developed by the study’s physicians. This protocol eliminates the need for the patient to schedule and attend an office visit, and allows them to begin treatment immediately.
 
“We are not trying to compete with physician-based practices, as we are still referring the sickest of patients to their local physicians, but we do feel that our pharmacists can provide quality care that is accessible and more convenient to patients with possible flu or strep throat. We envision that, in the future, we will expand service provision, which will be attractive to patients of all ages, particularly working parents. Instead of taking time off from work for an office visit, or making an expensive emergency room visit, parents could bring their children to our pharmacies and receive a quick test to determine if their child’s illness is the flu or strep throat,” stated Jeff Stull, pharmacy development manager and project coordinator for HomeTown Pharmacy.

The testing and diagnostic services are free through the pilot project year, and will continue to be available beyond the study (ends in August).  At that time the services will be available as a fee-for-service, but exact costs have yet to be determined. After August, HomeTown Pharmacy is planning to expand services to include testing for children in addition to adults, as well as including additional pharmacy locations throughout the state.  

As reported by Drug Store News, Hy-Vee stores in Omaha and Papillion are among 60 sites throughout three states that will have pharmacists trained to administer these tests. Also collaborating with Ferris State University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy is Meijer, which recently announced that its pharmacy locations in Michigan would be participating in the study.

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PHARMACY

Innovation introduces a two-tower RxSafe robotic storage and retrieval system

BY Michael Johnsen

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. — Innovation, makers of PharmASSIST pharmacy automation solutions, on Tuesday announced that the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy in Mt. Vernon, Ill. has successfully implemented a two-tower RxSafe robotic storage and retrieval system to help optimize their pharmacy fulfillment and inventory management processes. 

“Our primary goals for making this automation investment were to increase our workflow and inventory management efficiency so we could free up staff to spend more time and attention on clinical services and other revenue generating activities,” stated Eric Black, owner of the Mt. Vernon Medicine Shoppe. “In just six weeks, we’re seeing tangible results in staff productivity, and we’ve been able to focus more on compounding in our new compounding lab and on our customer care.”

Mt. Vernon Medicine Shoppe fills an average of 400 prescriptions daily, with peaks reaching 600 prescriptions a day. One pharmacy technician operates the two-tower RxSafe system, and fills approximately 65% of the pharmacy’s daily prescription volume. The 2-tower RxSafe system stores 3,600 native prescription containers in approximately 24 sq. ft. The system seamlessly integrates with their WinRx pharmacy management system from ComputerRx. The pharmacy also employs the VOW IVR system for refill processing.

“This was the easiest technology transition we’ve ever made," Black said. "Our staff is getting more familiar with the system with each passing week. RxSafe’s customer service and training has helped us make great strides in just more than a month and a half of going live.”

 

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Walgreens collaborates with NMAC in expanding pneumococcal vaccine reach across HIV patients

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — In collaboration with the National Minority AIDS Council, Walgreens is furthering its commitment to improve HIV treatment outcomes for African Americans living with HIV by deepening pharmacists’ training and expanding access to the pneumococcal vaccination specifically indicated for persons living with HIV as incidents of flu and pneumonia rise, the retailer announced Tuesday.

Pneumococcal disease can spread from a sneeze or cough and can cause significant or life threatening infection for those with chronic illnesses. People living with HIV are at a higher risk of pneumococcal disease — 35 times greater than someone unaffected by HIV at a similar age. African-Americans are at an even greater risk as nearly half of all new HIV infections are within the population, and African-Americans have the lowest seasonal vaccination rate at 40%.

Pneumococcal vaccinations specifically indicated for persons living with HIV are available at all Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies to help meet preventive care needs of African-Americans living with HIV. Walgreens specially trained pharmacists are working closely with physicians to understand patient needs and deliver individualized, comprehensive care, including vaccine administration.

“We understand that African-Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV and can be heavily impacted during the cold and flu season when pneumonia may be more prevalent,” stated Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens director of specialty products and services, virology. “In addition to stocking our HIV-specialized pharmacies with the CDC-recommended vaccine, we have provided additional pharmacist training so that each of our more than 2,000 HIV-specialized pharmacists is prepared to provide both seasonal and general wellness consultations and administer this vitally important vaccination.”

With HIV-specialized pharmacies accessible to nearly 90% of the U.S. HIV population, Walgreens is uniquely positioned to help decrease vaccine preventable diseases in HIV-positive populations that were previously difficult-to-reach and often live in medically underserved areas.

“It is especially critical that people living with HIV remain vigilant not only about managing the virus, but also protecting their overall health,” said Kim Johnson, NMAC director of community advancement and leadership strategies. “With cold, flu and pneumonia rampant, the importance of protecting already compromised immune systems is even more pronounced. This means getting vaccinated, eating well and regularly washing your hands. NMAC is pleased to partner with Walgreens to encourage minority communities to safeguard their health by promoting and expanding access to critical preventive health services.”

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