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Industry Issues Summit panel outlines retail’s patient care efforts

The third day of Drug Store News’ 22nd Industry Issues Summit kept the event’s momentum going with a panel on “Great Expectations: How Retail Pharmacy is Executing Patient Care.” Moderator Dave Wendland, Hamacher Resource Group’s vice president of strategic relations, guided participants through a discussion about how retail pharmacy operators have stepped up throughout the pandemic to provide necessary patient care.

“Pharmacists in particular — and pharmacy teams — throughout 2020 have really been elevated and brought into greater light in terms of their commitment to their essential work during this pandemic,” Wendland said. “Being back for my 17th year moderating this panel, I really cannot think of a time when pharmacy was more centered and where the opportunity to showcase the capabilities, resources, products and their commitment to patient health and well-being was in the spotlight.” 

Panelists include Adam Keeth of Sam’s Club, Becky Dant of Costco, Summer Williams Kerly of Rite Aid, Leon Nevers of HEB, Bob Pessel of VMC Pharmacy Program & Buying Group, Orsula Knowlton of Tabula Rasa Healthcare, Colette Heimowitz of Simply Good Foods and Stacy Burch of BD. 

To view the full panel discussion, click here

The panelists outlined various efforts their companies have been taking to expand the value of pharmacists to patients. Dant outlined Costco’s efforts to use tech solutions and such tools as central fill, delivery and others to round out the company’s offerings. And Nevers discussed how H-E-B has managed to step up not just through a pandemic, but also through several hurricanes. 

“This isn’t our first rodeo down in Texas,” Nevers said. “From an organizational standpoint we were able to really bear down on some of the things we’d already been working on.” He noted that the company’s efforts to build out a strong immunization offering has prepared it well for the pandemic and eventual distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Sam’s Club’s Keeth noted that the company has been working to be even more a resource to its communities, including offering mobile COVID-19 testing. “We’re really trying to push the boundaries and meet the patient and customer where they need to be met”

Pessel discussed the importance of implementation when working a cooperative of independents who also play a critical role in healthcare delivery. “We want our pharmacy teams to be providers of immunizations, anything at point of care,’ he said, noting that teaching and education are central to helping VMC’s members expand their practice.  “There is acceptance across the board when things are rolled out correctly and taught right. We strive to get everybody to that place.”
Other topics touched on in the discusiion included how companies have pivoted to virtual to help meet consumers’ self-care needs, as well as the obstacles that still need to be overcome to strengthen retail’s healthcare positioning. 

DSN’s Industry Issue Summit concludes Thursday with a panel led by Dan Mack of Mack Elevation. The “Building Strategic Supplier and Retailer Partnerships” panel, will feature Sherri Keeth of Sam’s Club, Jacob Trombino of CVS Pharmacy, Mike Wolf of Walgreens, Karen Staniforth of Rite Aid, Dave Semersky of Target, Brian Owens of Kanter and Staci Cochran of Walmart. They will discuss how retailers and suppliers can work together to build transparent and reliable partnerships built on a mutual investment in each other’s businesses. To register for the event, click here

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