Supercenter retailer Meijer continues to be a driver in expanding pharmacy’s health care role.
Under a partnership announced this week, Meijer pharmacies will provide hypertension management services for University of Michigan Health System patients. U-M said its patients can go to a participating Meijer pharmacy for a blood pressure check and assessment. If their blood pressure is elevated, a clinically trained Meijer pharmacist will communicate directly with the patient’s U-M health provider.
Patients also will receive follow-up and education about disease, clinical goals, medications and lifestyle. Documentation of their visit to the Meijer pharmacy will be recorded in their electronic medical record so the results are available for discussion with their U-M health provider at their next medical visit.
So far, the service is offered at two Meijer pharmacy locations in Ann Arbor, Mich. U-M said the program will be rolled out one clinic at a time throughout the Health System, focusing on clinics with a large population of patients living near participating Meijer pharmacies.
“We are excited to partner with the highly regarded University of Michigan Health System,” Karen Mankowski, vice president of pharmacy operations at Meijer, said in a statement. “This partnership shows the importance of the collaboration between community pharmacists and health care providers. We look forward to offering our clinical services to the residents of Ann Arbor and the surrounding areas through this opportunity.”
The participating Meijer pharmacies have added automatic blood pressure monitors to provide more accurate readings, according to U-M. The health system, which recommended the devices, said the monitors take six consecutive blood pressure readings and give an average reading.
“This partnership is allowing us to provide our patients with clinical pharmacist services in the community,” explained Hae Mi Choe, director and associate dean of pharmacy innovations and partnerships at U-M. “Our patients will have more access to an effective and safe hypertension treatment and monitoring program right in their neighborhood.”
In clinic visits, U-M patients with elevated blood pressure will be identified and offered the option to get follow-up care at the Meijer pharmacy. U-M said it also plans outreach to patients with high blood pressure who live near the participating Meijer locations. These patiets will be invited to visit the local Meijer pharmacy, or return to their physician’s office, for their follow-up care.
“This affiliation presents us with a unique opportunity to collaborate with Meijer pharmacists and enhance our system of care for our patients to better meet their needs,” stated David Spahlinger, executive vice dean for clinical affairs and president of U-M Health System.
The collaboration with U-M reflects Meijer’s efforts in recent years to extend pharmacy’s health care reach. For example, in 2014, Meijer locations provided free tests for flu and strep throat as part of a study with Ferris State University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy to assess the efficacy of rapid diagnostic testing in a pharmacy setting. And last November, Meijer opened a retail pharmacy at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., enabling it to provide convenient post-hospital care medication services.
This past February, Meijer was recognized for its efforts to improve medication adherence as a winner in the medium retail pharmacy chain category for UnitedHealthcare’s Targeted Intervention Program (TIP) Challenge. In April, the chain also announced plans to open more in-store health clinics via new partnerships with health systems in Michigan and Wisconsin.