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Drug Store News speaks with John Beckner, director of pharmacy and health services at Ukrop's.
Drug Store News: Why did Ukrop’s start its diabetes program?
John Beckner: We felt that diabetes was a significant health issue, not only in our market area but also within our associate population. Therefore, implementing a diabetes program really seemed like the right thing to do. We believe that our pharmacists working in concert withour dieticians and other healthcare professionals can positively impact the lives of those who suffer from this disease. We also think that disease state management programs, such as diabetes, ultimately will result in consistent reimbursement from payers.
DrSN: How do you leverage your capabilities as a supermarket pharmacy in implementing the program?
Beckner: Given the huge impact that nutrition has on Type 2 diabetes, offering diabetes education and counseling in a supermarket environment makes perfect sense. Diabetes patients already visit the pharmacy more often than the average person because of the many medications they take. Adding the numerous trips for groceries, patients with diabetes are in the store on a very frequent basis. This creates an opportunity for the pharmacist and the dietician to interact with the patient regularly for education and reinforcement, which is key to effecting behavior change with any chronic disease, especially diabetes.
DrSN: What role can supermarket pharmacies play in the U.S. healthcare system?
Beckner: Supermarket pharmacy can play an integral role in today’s evolving healthcare system. The pharmacy is the magnet that draws people into the store for health and wellness, including the management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes. By working collaboratively with other disciplines, we can help patients better manage diseases, lower stress, improve nutrition and enhance their quality of life through healthy eating and proper use of medications. The end result: lower healthcare costs.