How collaboration and technology are improving health in communities

Panelists at DSN’s Industry Issues Summit discussed advances and innovations in improving community health.
technology collaboration

How are collaboration and technology improving health in all communities? That was the focus of a panel at Drug Store News’ 25th Industry Issues Summit. 

Moderated by Shannon Huneke, strategic partnerships innovator and executor at Accenture, the panel included Jason Ausili, EnlivenHealth, an Omnicell Innovation, head of pharmacy transformation; Diane Borton, CareSource Community & Retail Partnerships director; Stacy Burch, Embecta vice president, North America Marketing; Anna Prilutsky, Haleon Head of North America Research and Development; and Dr. Marc Watkins, chief medical officer at Kroger.

Prilutsky shared how Haleon is addressing health equity, with its focus on the importance of maternal health and nutrition as well as attention to seniors at risk.

“Everything we do begins with a deep human understanding of where the needs exist and communities,” she said. “We’ve partnered with Economist Impact. We get access to Health Inclusivity Index and we’re on a three year journey. Where we get the disproportionate impact, how a healthy start in life is critical and it impacts, not just the mom, but the baby, the whole family and the community at large.”

[Read more: Industry Issues Summit: How VillageMD is transforming health care]


Prilutsky shared the example of Centrum’s recent launch of a prenatal and postpartum vitamin range in gummy form. Haleon wants to ensure that the products are accessible to those communities that are most in need. “We have on that specific range a QR code that gives education when the mom needs it, in the language she understands,” Prilutsky said.

The discussion proceeded with Burch sharing how Embecta is using technology and data to address needs and barriers around SDOH. “Our mission is to get patients to a life unlimited by diabetes,” Burch said, noting that working on dispensing data, Embecta found that there was a significant disparity between the insulin a patient was getting and the pens, needles and syringes they needed to inject.

“Embecta set upon a mission to look at an unbranded campaign that focused on proper injection techniques, as well as adequate supplies so we could ensure no matter where you were, no matter if you had insurance or not, whether education level was there or not, how could we reach you in a time partnering first and foremost with the pharmacist,” Burch said.

The discussion continued with Borton weighing in on where there’s an opportunity to start thinking about strategic partnerships. Partnering with community-based and faith-based organizations has been critical in reaching that population. “Where they play, pray and pay,” Borton said. “We want to make sure we can have a presence there and partner with trusted brands and alliances within the community.”

Lastly, Watkins addressed how Kroger thinks about holistic health with its associates and individuals in the community. “When you have a large distributed population like this, we begin to represent an over index by disease categories that is pretty consistent at the zip code level,” Watkins said. “When you look at zip codes that have the ability to have resources and access to care, you tend to see upwards of 10 years of productive life differences between marginalized zip codes.” One of Kroger’s initiatives revolves around eating the right foods.

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Kroger’s food scoring system, OptUp, gives consumers the ability to scan the UPC code or bar codes of foods to get a rating system that’s proprietary to Kroger but applicable to understanding the severity of a disease in a population, using food and a food score as a marker for health in a community, Watkins explained.

Kroger wants to make sure that its solutions are equitable, meaningful and timely for its associates “If we believe we cover those bases we’re able to deliver care in a model that can be consumed and take action,” Watkins said “We’ve launched under that umbrella of the healthiest workforce in America, how do we increase activation around PCP adoption, how do we increase activation around things like prevention, screenings and how do we equip folks with the right care at the right time?”

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