CVS Tobacco Ban a Sign of the Times?

CVS Caremark announced yesterday that they will stop selling tobacco products in their stores. This change, effective October 1, 2014, will affect all 7,400 CVS Caremark stores across the United States, representing about $1.5 billion worth of sales in tobacco products each year.

cvs-caremark-stops-selling-tobacco-in-pharmacies1<“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.” Merlo continued, “As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners. The significant action we’re taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace.”

What do we think about the CVS ban on tobacco?

Well played, CVS. We commend your decision to put your customers’ wellness before your company’s profits!

Lung cancer, just one of the complications associated with the use of tobacco products, is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States. The American Society of Clinical Oncology estimates that in 2013 alone, nearly 230,000 adults were diagnosed with lung cancer. Add that to about 375,000 Americans living with lung cancer, and you have a pretty grim picture.

Until this point, pharmacists’ role in supporting patients with conditions like lung cancer has consisted mostly of helping manage medications during the treatment process. Perhaps some forward-thinking pharmacists were also offering lifestyle coaching or tobacco cessation programs.

CVS’ bold move goes much further, positioning pharmacies and pharmacists to help prevent disease by eliminating the sale of tobacco at their stores.

As America works to reform our healthcare system, this is the type of stance and action that key players on the healthcare team will be challenged to take.

At Parata, we encourage our employees to make healthy choices by providing a price differential on insurance premiums for being tobacco-free. We also cover the cost of tobacco cessation programs to support employees who want to quit.

As a technology partner to pharmacies, we provide tools that empower pharmacists to take an active, personal role in patient care so they can play a critical part in keeping patients healthy — even before disease starts.

And we can’t help but wonder: will other pharmacies follow suit?

Tell us: do you sell tobacco products in your pharmacy? Will you continue? And if so, why?

For more information about CVS’ decision, read the full press release from CVS Caremark.

 

Nominations Open for 2014 Next-Generation Pharmacist Awards

Do you know — or are you — a pharmacist who is defining the future of the industry? Nominate him, her or yourself for the Next-Generation Pharmacist awards.

About the Next-Generation Pharmacist Awards
Co-founded by Parata and Pharmacy Times, this national awards program honors pharmacists, technicians, students and industry advocates who are defining the future of pharmacy. Since 2010, more than 100 pharmacy leaders have been named finalists or winners.

“We are so proud of how this program has grown. Over the past five years, this program has gained tremendous industry respect and continues to evolve to better serve and honor pharmacists,” said Ashley Talamo, Associate Publisher, Pharmacy Times. “We expect this year’s milestone event to exceed all expectations and attract even greater participation from the pharmacy and healthcare industries.”

The Next-Generation Pharmacist awards will be held at the Fairmont Copley Square, Boston hotel on Sunday, August 24th.

Encouraging Innovation and Inspiration in the Industry
In addition to the awards, this year’s Next Generation Pharmacist program will host a panel of experts dedicated to sharing their thoughts on the future of pharmacy, including the growing role of pharmacists in the value-driven healthcare ecosystem.

“The healthcare industry, and its impact on patients, is changing at an unprecedented pace. Pharmacists are redefining their role in this evolving value-driven healthcare system. Our vision of a Next-Generation Pharmacist is one who not only embraces this change but is helping to shape the future,” explained Tom Rhoads, CEO, Parata Systems. “Our Next Generation Pharmacists are leveraging new ideas and innovations to improve patient outcomes and earning a more strategic role at the healthcare table. We look forward to recognizing and honoring them at this event.”

Nominate a Pharmacist
Nominations are now open and may be submitted through April 1st, 2014. To submit a nomination, visit www.nextgenerationpharmacist.com/nominate.

Want to learn more?
For more information about the Next-Generation Pharmacist awards, nominations and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.nextgenerationpharmacist.com.

And, connect with Next-Generation Pharmacist on Twitter (@nextgenpharm) and Facebook for regular updates.

5 Steps for Pharmacists to Secure a Spot on the New Healthcare Team

For years, America’s healthcare costs have continued to climb, but we’re not getting any healthier. Patient outcomes continue to decline. Healthcare reform aims to change all that with a triple aim: better care, healthy people and reduced costs.

In response, healthcare providers are learning new rules, trying out new tactics and developing new teams. For progressive pharmacists, this time of uncertainty provides a window of opportunity.

To secure your spot on the new healthcare team, follow these five tips:

1. Become familiar with your medical neighborhood.
As a community pharmacist, you’re already a central part of your local healthcare system. You have the influence and the access needed to motivate patients to make good choices. (According to Gallup’s 2013 poll, pharmacists are one of the most trusted professionals in the country, second only to nurses.) You’re the perfect player for the new healthcare team, so take this first step to secure your spot: Get to know the local organizations and practices that are working to develop new care models.

2. Approach the players in your area now.
Now that you know the players, it’s time to get in the game. Don’t wait for a proven formula for partnering with healthcare systems or accountable care organizations (ACOs) — that could be too late. Start conversations now with physicians, hospitals, home health agencies and other providers who are trying to figure out how to improve patient outcomes. Listen to their goals and needs. Help them understand what you offer so they realize how much they need it.

3. Define your own role on the new healthcare team.
How will your pharmacy help the team achieve its goals? If the organization struggles with transitions in care, develop a plan to help. About 30 percent of medications reviewed by a pharmacist post-discharge require an intervention. That’s an opportunity to catch costly mistakes and improve a patient’s care experience and wellness. Take control by identifying these opportunities and implementing plans to address them.

4. Look to high-tech, high-touch services for better care.
Technology is playing a critical role in new care models. Tools that keep patients engaged in their care plan and allow providers to monitor what’s going on with patients outside of office visits will help healthcare providers intervene when appropriate and determine the best use of resources for each patient. If you have solutions that could improve patients’ experiences and outcomes while reducing costs, bring them to the table.

5. Track your impact.
Establish a comprehensive, reportable way to track your involvement with patients. Document the extra touch points you establish, note patients’ participation in health screenings or immunizations, and file any medication interventions you assist with. The industry is redesigning care models, and much is in flux. Be prepared with data to show your impact — someday, someone will ask for it. When you can prove a positive impact on patient outcomes, everyone will want you on their team.


Join us at the 2014 Independent Pharmacy Business Growth Conference.

This is just the beginning. Join us at the PDS Growth Conference (February 27– March 1) to learn more about pharmacists’ changing role and how to ensure your success in the new healthcare arena.

We’re hosting an accredited CE session, “Pharmacist + Technology = Momentum: Promising Players on the Healthcare Team.” You’ll get actionable insights from industry leaders. Nancy Blough, who works with ACO teams across the country, will show you the formula for ACOs and pharmacists’ involvement. Ryan Moore from Cornerstone Health Care, a North Carolina-based ACO, will discuss strategies for community pharmacists to get their foot in the door and provide examples from Cornerstone’s experience.

Haven’t registered for the PDS Growth Conference yet? Register here and take advantage of our promo code (PARATA) to receive a $500 discount on your ticket to the conference!

To learn more about Parata, or to schedule a demo during the PDS Growth Conference, email us at success@parata.com.

Pharmacists: Key Players in the Healthcare System

What can you expect from Parata at the 2014 Independent Pharmacy Business Growth Conference?

“Be prepared for actionable advice about how you, as independent pharmacists, can pursue business opportunities in a world with the Affordable Care Act,” said Jay Blandford, our executive VP of sales and business development during a recent webinar with Pharmacy Development Services.

The Affordable Care Act has created a shift in our healthcare system. The game is changing — fast. To stay relevant, independent pharmacists who want to grow their businesses need to get in the game.

Watch the video to learn:

  • How did we get to the ACA and this new healthcare landscape?
  • What does a value-based healthcare system mean for pharmacists?
  • How do you claim your seat at the table?
  • What will it take for pharmacy owners to thrive in 2014?

Watch the Video

Parata’s Innovation Summit Brings Together Pharmacists And Healthcare Leaders

Parata’s Innovation Summit Brings Together Pharmacists and Healthcare Leaders

We’re excited to announce that our first Innovation Summit was a success! This two-day summit was created as an idea exchange on the role of pharmacists in an evolving value-driven healthcare system.

The event brought together a broad cross-section of our pharmacy customers, payors, health systems, accountable care organizations (ACOs), and other forward-looking organizations in the healthcare industry.

Parata-Innovation-Summit-Pharmacy-Healthcare-Leaders-8-Diane-Gatchell

“Our goal was to create an environment where parties with sometimes differing views could freely and openly exchange ideas, with the focus on improving outcomes and lowering healthcare costs for everyone involved, but especially for patients,” commented Parata CEO Tom Rhoads.

This Innovation Summit follows a number of local and industry recognitions.

“This has been an amazing year for Parata, and we thought the timing was right for this type of Innovation Summit,” Tom added. “Parata’s leadership role has steadily grown within the pharmacy industry, which enabled us to bring together some of the most influential thought leaders in the healthcare community.”

Participants also spent time with Parata’s leadership and engineers and gained additional insight into our company’s innovations and direction.

We received great feedback from participants, who loved the interactive format and overall value of the Summit.  Joe Moose, PharmD and owner of Moose Pharmacy, commented,”The Parata Innovation Summit connected me with all the players in healthcare – pharmacy, technology, payors, PBMs, health systems and ACOs – and helped me visualize where they bring value to healthcare as a whole. Knowing this helped me see where pharmacy’s value points are and how we can maximize that value.  It provided a better understanding of how we could all work together to help each other, and ultimately deliver better care at a better price.”

To learn more about this recent event, click here.  To view more photos from the event, click here.

Top 5 Takeaways: “Pharmacy’s Emerging Role in Accountable Care”

Jamie Hale, Chief Pharmacy Officer for Cornerstone Health Care, recently discussed pharmacy’s role in accountable care. Based in central North Carolina, Cornerstone Health Care is an accountable care organization (ACO) transitioning from the traditional fee-for-service model to a patient-centered medical home system. Jamie leads the development and integration of pharmaceutical care services for the group.

Here are our top five takeaways from Jamie’s webinar, Pharmacy’s Emerging Role in Accountable Care.

1)  You’re already in the medical neighborhood.
As community pharmacists, you’re already a central part of your local healthcare system. And, Gallup’s annual poll consistently ranks pharmacists as one of the most trusted professionals in the country, second only to nurses. You have the influence and the access needed to motivate patients to make good choices.

2)  Approach the players in your area now.
Don’t wait for a proven formula for partnering with ACOs — that could be too late. Start conversations now with physicians, hospitals, home health agencies and other providers who are trying to figure out accountable care. Listen to their goals and needs. Help them understand what you offer so they realize how much they need it.

3)  Define your own role in accountable care organizations.
How will your pharmacy help an ACO achieve its goals? If the organization struggles with transitions in care, develop a plan to help. About 30 percent of medications reviewed by a pharmacist post-discharge require an intervention. That’s an opportunity to catch costly mistakes. Take control of your role in an ACO by identifying these opportunities and implementing plans to address them.

4)  Look to high-tech, high-touch services for better care.
Technology is playing a critical role in new care models. Tools that keep patients engaged in their care plan and allow providers to monitor what’s going on with patients outside of office visits will help ACOs intervene when appropriate and determine the best use of resources for each patient. If you have solutions that could improve patients’ experiences and outcomes while reducing costs, bring them to the table.

5)  Track your impact.
Establish a comprehensive, reportable way to track your involvement with patients. Document the extra touch points you establish, note patients’ participation in health screenings or immunizations, and file any medication interventions you assist with. ACOs are redesigning care models, and much is in flux. Be prepared with data to show your impact — someday, someone will ask for it.


You can view the recorded webinar here: Pharmacy’s Emerging Role in Accountable Care.

To learn how Parata is empowering pharmacists to support coordinated care, improve health outcomes and lower medical costs, contact us today at success@parata.com or (888) PARATA1.

PASS Pack™ Strikes a Chord with Caregivers

Today’s Caregiver magazine has recognized Parata with a 2013 Caregiver Friendly® Award. The awards recognize products, services, books and media created with the needs of caregivers in mind.

Parata was recognized in the Product category for Parata PASS™ adherence packaging, which organizes medications into a strip of pouches the way people take them: by date and time of day.

CEO Tom Rhoads recently attended the Fearless Caregiver Conference in Boca Raton, Florida, to accept the award. While there, he spoke with caregivers, patients and conference presenters. His remarks on stage reflected those conversations.

“Caregiving is a selfless and overwhelming job,” Tom said upon accepting the award. “We hope that by making it simple for your loved ones or patients to manage and take medications, we’re providing you with some comfort and reassurance at the end of your long days.”

That simple message — and the simple solution to a challenge all caregivers face — resonated with the audience.

Offstage, caregivers and patients asked eager questions about PASS Pack — mostly, “Where can I get it?”

“I gave out every business card I had on me,” Tom says, “and several people I met at the show have reached out. We’re working to pair them with pharmacies that offer PASS packaging. Maybe we can help make their lives and jobs as caregivers a little bit easier.”

Today’s Caregiver is the first national magazine published entirely for all family and professional caregivers. For more information about Today’s Caregiver and the Caregiver Friendly Award, visit caregiver.com.

In America’s Pharmacist: The Right Way For Adherence

In America’s Pharmacist: The Right Way for Adherence

“So you have this chain of trained people — chemist, physician, pharmacist — and what do you do? You give [medications] to the person who’s least capable of handling them — the patient. And for years, you’ve been doing it over and over and expecting different results. It’s not working.”Bob Lomenick, a multi-pharmacy owner, tells this story often: how his son so clearly explained the need to change the way patients receive and take medications, so the burden of medication management does not fall solely on their shoulders.

This became the genesis for Lomenick’s retail adherence program, Right Way Meds.

Using Parata PASS™ strip packaging as the cornerstone of his adherence program, Lomenick has improved patient adherence and outcomes, secured the 10 percent of his patients who represent half of his revenue, and gained access to 3,000 new patients by catching the attention of a regional insurer.

To learn how he did it, read the full article in America’s Pharmacist.

Chain Drug Review: Tech solutions foster patient-centric Rx model

The nation’s leading chain drug publication recently asked Parata CEO Tom Rhoads for his thoughts on the role technology is playing as pharmacists foster a patient-centric model. We captured some of the highlights below.

For the full article, turn to page 45 of the June 03, 2013 issue of Chain Drug Review.

As healthcare shifts from treating sick patients to helping people live healthy, pharmacists are seeking ways to free up time to spend with patients on high-value services that will improve patient outcomes, including medication therapy management and adherence programs.

Right now, many pharmacists are leveraging dispensing and packaging automation technologies to safely and accurately prepare prescriptions.

This gives pharmacists more time to spend with patients, but technology’s role doesn’t stop there.

“Long-term, the focus will shift to the front of the counter,” says Parata Systems CEO Tom Rhoads, “with technology that engages patients and promotes adherence in an automated and personal way.”

Companies in the tech sector are showing a determination to keep patients actively engaged in managing their medications through mobile apps that send medication reminders, online communities to chat with a pharmacist, packaging that organizes medications to make adherence easy, and more.

Healthcare providers — pharmacists included — will also turn to technology that can help inform them about a patient’s complete care plan so they can work toward better outcomes for each patient.

“Today’s computers can learn, and experts are training them to assist health care providers in bringing excellent care to significant numbers of patients at a low cost,” Rhoads notes. “For example, prominent hospitals are training Watson, IBM’s Jeopardy-winning super computer, as an advisor to diagnose and treat patients. The application of that kind of smart technology will forever change the delivery of patient-centered health care.”

For the full article, turn to page 45 of the June 03, 2013 issue of Chain Drug Review.

Parata Wins 2013 Caregiver Friendly® Award From Today’s Caregiver Magazine

Parata Wins 2013 Caregiver Friendly® Award from Today’s Caregiver Magazine

Today’s Caregiver magazine has recognized Parata as a 2013 “Caregiver Friendly® Award” recipient. The awards recognize products, services, books and media created with the needs of caregivers in mind.

todays-caregiver-2013-award

Parata was recognized for its Parata PASS™ adherence packaging, which organizes medications into a strip of pouches the way people take them: by date and time of day.

The packaging makes it easier for patients to know when to take their next dose, and enables caregivers to manage multiple medications with ease at home, ensuring patients take their medications as prescribed, stay healthy and avoid hospital readmissions.

“A growing number of pharmacists are offering strip packaging to their patients, especially those managing chronic conditions,” said Tom Rhoads, CEO of Parata. “Caregiving is a selfless and overwhelming job. Parata works with pharmacists across the country who use strip packaging to make it easier for caregivers to ensure patients take medications as prescribed.”

Today’s Caregiver is the first national magazine published entirely for all family and professional caregivers. For more information about Today’s Caregiver and the Caregiver Friendly Award, visit www.caregiver.com.

To learn more about Parata PASS, visit www.parata.com.

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