Wegmans rolls out telehealth pilot program
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — As Walgreens expands its partnership with MDLive to three new states and RiteAid tests out a pilot program, Wegmans is forging into telehealth territory with a new virtual doctor program in four of its stores’ pharmacies.
According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, customers in DeWitt, New York; Niagara Falls, New York; Fairfax, Virginia; and Allentown, Pennsylvania can now stop into their Wegmans pharmacy for a virtual doctor’s visit through Doctor on Demand, which allows users to see doctors and psychologists online with their computer, smartphone or tablet. The Wegmans pharmacies in the program also have a kiosk for users without a computer.
The first Doctors on Demand visit is free, and will put users in touch with board-certified doctors who are available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Though Wegmans employees in DeWitt say that the Doctor on Demand services aren’t meant for emergencies, they can be helpful for things like sinus infections or cold and flu cases.
FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card saved users $175 million last year
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — FamilyWize, a community service partnership focused on improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities, announced Wednesday that it saved 2.2 million consumers more than $175 million on prescription costs in 2014 through the use of its free Prescription Savings Card.
In 2014, FamilyWize helped these same consumers save an average of 42% off retail prescription costs through the FamilyWize card, for an average savings of $29.14 per prescription. Consumers saved on prescriptions for chronic, as well as acute conditions. With the FamilyWize card, the average savings per major therapy class in 2014 was as high as 53%.
“Whether people are insured or uninsured, they have the power to be smart shoppers with their medications,” said Dan Barnes, CEO FamilyWize. “Our report demonstrates the positive impact that we have had on families and communities that use our card. Over the past almost 10 years, over 40 million prescriptions have been filled with real savings. FamilyWize has a tangible impact on improving the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.”
The FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card, which is accepted at more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide, covers all prescription medications. The card is free to all consumers — both insured and uninsured — and provides an average savings of 42% on medication costs. The FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card functions like a reusable prescription discount coupon, does not require any personal information from the user and has no eligibility criteria.
FamilyWize also has a Drug Price Lookup Tool, an online resource to compare prescription medication prices and find local pharmacies with the lowest price.
Walgreens telehealth expansion, other pilots shed light on pharmacy’s changing role
DEERFIELD, Ill. — The essence of what a pharmacy represents to the average consumer is changing, as evidenced by news emerging from Walgreens Boots Alliance Wednesday morning and a telehealth pilot at Rite Aid and Wegmans. Retail pharmacy is no longer simply a depository for prescription medicines — actually, it hasn’t been for awhile— but a destination for patients in search of health solutions and services.
Walgreens Boots Alliance on Wednesday rolled out its MDLive service to three additional states — Illinois, Washington and Colorado. The company plans to have the service available for patients in 25 states by the end of the year, according to a Forbes report.
Walgreens and MDLive first introduced the new telehealth offering in December to website and mobile app users in California and Michigan, giving them 24/7 access to U.S. board-certified doctors through its mobile application.
“As we continue to advance our telehealth strategy and expand our digital footprint, we’re pleased to help offer unparalleled access to medical professionals for more of our customers,” said Adam Pellegrini, Walgreens divisional VP digital health. “Our society truly values anytime, anywhere convenience. And with a growing need for access to affordable health care services, we believe telehealth solutions can play an important role in helping to improve patient outcomes and continues our mission to provide a seamless, omni-channel digital health experience.”
At the same time that Walgreens is testing out telehealth services, Wegmans and Rite Aid are piloting their own services.
In early June, Wegmans began working with Doctor on Demand to allow visitors to its pharmacies in DeWitt, New York; Niagara Falls, New York; Fairfax, Virginia; and Allentown, Pennsylvania to stop in for a virtual doctor or psychologist visit. The pharmacies that are part of the pilot even provide a kiosk for customers who don’t have a computer, smartphone or tablet that they can use for their virtual visit.
Rite Aid is piloting a new service with HealthSpot in three Ohio markets, the first of which is expected to open over the next few months. The foundation of the HealthSpot telehealth platform, which was announced in May, is built on expanding access to care by driving patient adoption of remote healthcare delivery models.
“We want to build a national healthcare access network across the country in retail pharmacies in conjunction with leading local health system partnerships. To truly evolve healthcare, we must focus on data integration in our system to deliver a high standard of care,” Steve Cashman, HealthSpot CEO, said at the time.
“With HealthSpot we have the potential to reach over 30,000 retail pharmacies which unlocks patient access to affordable and convenient care,” Tamara StClaire, chief innovation officer of Commercial Healthcare for Xerox, said at the time. “Now patients, providers and payers have easy access to the often unwieldy processes that underpin the healthcare system — like appointment scheduling, claims eligibility and submissions, and even integration with EHRs – all through one secure platform.”
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