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As travelers ‘flu,’ AeroClinic lands in N.C.

BY Antoinette Alexander

ATLANTA —AeroClinic, an operator of airport-based health clinics in Philadelphia and Atlanta, is gearing up for the opening of its newest clinic location in Charlotte Douglas International Airport; meanwhile, it has set up flu shot kiosks in all three locations to help keep travelers healthy.

AeroClinic, which opened its first clinic in May 2007 in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and soon followed that up with its second clinic at Philadelphia International Airport, is planning to open two new locations within the Charlotte Douglas International Airport at the end of December 2009 or in January 2010, said Rosemary Kelly, AeroClinic chief marketing officer.

The Charlotte airport should provide the clinic-operator with some unique and useful insight as it embarks on its plans to eventually operate around 20 or more sites nationwide, because this airport will house two clinic locations. One smaller retail concept, which will be similar to the other retail-based models in operation, such as Take Care or MinuteClinic, will be located pre-security. Meanwhile, a main clinic offering a broader range of services, including occupational health, a lab and X-rays, will be situated post-security.

While the two separate models in two separate locales within a single airport is a new strategy for AeroClinic, the offering of such services as X-rays, occupational health, physical therapy and a lab, is not. In fact, AeroClinic has been working to broaden its scope of services since initially opening in 2007, and now looks much like an urgent care center operator. The wide scope of services has enabled the clinic operator not only to meet the healthcare needs of travelers but also to treat the thousands of employees working within the airport.

So, in the case of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, 25,000 travelers pass through each hour, but another 55,000 go to work there every day, Kelly said.

Because the clinics essentially are urgent care centers—and because staffing requirements vary by state—nurse practitioners, physicians and physician assistants staff the clinics. The clinics are open 12 hours Monday through Friday, and eight hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, AeroClinic is further serving travelers by offering $35 flu shots via flu shot kiosks in Atlanta (seven kiosks), Philadelphia (one kiosk) and Charlotte, N.C. (one kiosk). The kiosks are mini clinics on wheels and are reminiscent of the retail carts one would find in the center of major shopping malls. The flu shots began Sept. 15, and the swine flu vaccine also will be offered to travelers once it is available.

Kelly said the flu shot kiosks have noticed a boost in traffic in light of this year’s flu concerns. By mid-October, 9,000 flu shots had been administered in just under three weeks, compared with 8,000 last flu season.

Earlier this year, the company decided to close two retail-based clinics under its AmeriClinic banner in Medicine Shoppe stores in Georgia. “It was a matter of us focusing on the airport clinics,” Kelly said. And with about 30 major airports nationwide, there are several options for AeroClinic to land.

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Hy-Vee celebrates the other white meat

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A lot of people complain about pork barrel spending, but not Midwest supermarket chain Hy-Vee.

October is National Pork Month, and the West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee announced Friday that sales of the meat have increased more than 25% over October 2008. The chain said it was on track to increase pork tonnage by more than 30%.

 

“With pork prices the lowest they’ve been in more than a decade, we’ve focused our marketing efforts on promoting pork as a great value for consumers,” Hy-Vee assistant VP meat operations Kenan Judge said in a statement. “Today’s shopper is looking for nutritious, economical meal ideas, and pork perfectly fits the bill.”

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Patients prefer new diabetes drug Victoza over its competitor, survey finds

BY Alaric DeArment

MONTREAL A new diabetes drug satisfied patients more than its competitor, according to a study funded by the drug’s manufacturer.

According to data on 379 patients who took the Diabetes Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaires, presented Thursday at the 20th World Diabetes Congress and published in medical journal The Lancet, patients taking Novo Nordisk’s drug Victoza (liraglutide) perceived less abnormally low or high blood sugar levels — known respectively as hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia — than those taking Byetta (exenatide), made by Eli Lilly & Co., Amylin Corp. and Alkermes.

Victoza is approved in Europe, but Novo Nordisk is still waiting for approval from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States.

“Liraglutide has shown here in a convincing study that it is associated with less nausea, less perceived hypoglycemia and definitely higher patient satisfaction compared to exenatide,” principal investigator Wolfgang Schmidt said in a statement. “Patient-reported outcomes data is an important extension of the efficacy data. If a patient is satisfied with his or her treatment, then they are much more likely to really stick to the treatment over the long term, which is necessary in Type 2 diabetes.”

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