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Cardinal Health honors community Rx innovation

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Best Practices winners recognized at Retail Business Conference

LAS VEGAS — Cardinal Health Inc. recognized the patient care and performance achievements of three community pharmacies at its Retail Business Conference (RBC) event this week in Las Vegas.

El Dorado TrueCare Pharmacy storefront

El Dorado TrueCare Pharmacy in El Dorado, Kan., has turned its drive-up pharmacy window into a business driver.

Cardinal on Friday said that Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Whiting, N.J.; Katterman’s Pharmacy in Seattle; and El Dorado TrueCare Pharmacy in El Dorado, Kan., are winners of its Independent Pharmacy Best Practices honors. These pharmacies were recognized for implementing programs that demonstrate how independent pharmacies can improve patient outcomes, drive business results in their community and better position themselves to succeed going forward.

“Through our work serving more than 8,000 independent pharmacies nationwide, we’ve had the opportunity to identify best-in-class innovation and superior results that serve as a benchmark for other pharmacies,” Steve Lawrence, senior vice president of retail independent sales at Cardinal Health, said in a statement. “We congratulate this year’s three inspiring Best Practices winners and are humbled by their commitment to excellence in community pharmacy. They demonstrate what it takes to be positioned to win in today’s changing health care landscape.”

Medicine Shoppe of Whiting, N.J., took Best Practices honors in the Wellness Advantage category, which recognizes solutions related to medication adherence, clinical programs or other solutions that enable a pharmacy to promote wellness in its community. Owner Al Patel created a program called Discharge Rx Care to help transition patients from the nursing home to their own home, with a goal of helping to reduce nursing home and hospital readmission rates.

Kattermans Pharmacy in Seattle

Katterman’s Pharmacy in Seattle has launched a thriving travel immunization business.

Discharge Rx Care works with the nursing home to prepare the medications for a patient before discharge. The pharmacy provides special adherence packs for morning, noon, evening and bedtime doses. A Medicine Shoppe pharmacist visits the patient’s home and personally delivers the medications on the day of discharge and reviews all medications with the patient, and his or her caregivers. If needed, patients are shown instructional videos, via iPads, to help them understand how to use devices such as insulin pens, nebulizers and inhalers. The pharmacist also completes a full medication reconciliation and removes any expired medications or medications from the patient’s medicine cabinets. The pharmacy also follows up with the patient weekly to answer questions or note any side effects of the medications.

El Dorado TrueCare Pharmacy in El Dorado, Kan., earned Best Practices kudos in the Business Advantage category, which recognizes solutions that help retail pharmacies protect their core prescription business. In this case, El Dorado TrueCare turned a way to make its drive-through window more efficient into a business generator.

Pharmacist/owner Mike Bellesine realized his pharmacy’s drive-up window service was causing patients more pain than convenience. On busy days, his pharmacy fills more than 900 prescriptions, and it often had a line of cars out to the street. His solution: a restaurant-style pager system. Initially, the move surprised customers, but in the end it has proven to be a driver for new business. The pharmacy provides patients who use the drive-up window with a numbered pager that reaches anywhere in the parking lot. These patients are given the same priority as any other patients waiting inside the store. When a patient’s prescription is ready, the pager is activated to notify the patient to come back to the drive-up window.

The solution has patients now switching to El Dorado TrueCare to take advantage of the efficiency of its drive-up window. The number of register transactions at the drive-up window has jumped from an average of 50 per day to more than 120 per day.

Katterman’s Pharmacy in Seattle was recognized for Best Practices in the Retail Advantage category, which spotlights front-end solutions that help maximize profitability and enhance the customer experience.

Pharmacist/owners Beverly Schaefer and Steve Cone strive to reinvent their business every three years. Their latest innovation focuses on serving travelers seeking for a quick, convenient way to get necessary travel vaccinations. Not only does Katterman’s administer a full array of travel-related immunizations, but it also offers an extensive line of travel items to support this customer niche. Because many travelers don’t plan for the vaccinations they need until one or two weeks before their trip — and it can take four to six weeks to get an appointment with other health care providers — the pharmacy captures a sizable number of these last-minute vaccinations. Some customers travel from more than an hour away to receive travel vaccinations.

As a result, a travel vaccination customer at Katterman’s spends an average of $300 for goods and services, and vaccines are usually administered for two or more travelers at a time — equating to $600 to $1,200 in revenue for each travel vaccination appointment.

The 2015 Independent Pharmacy Best Practices winners will each receive $3,500 from Cardinal Health to be donated to the pharmacy school or pharmacy association of their choice. Their stories and several other best-practice ideas to help community pharmacies be better positioned to win are available in the Good Medicine magazine distributed at RBC.


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