Are you ready for ‘Health Mart 2.0?’


With some 3,000 stores now under its banner coast to coast and official designation by JD Power & Associates as the nation’s favorite pharmacy service provider, Health Mart has achieved a remarkable growth record in the eight years since McKesson launched a top-to-bottom overhaul of the Health Mart brand and marketing strategy. Now, the nation’s top name in independent franchised pharmacy is stepping up to a new level of customer care, operating performance, marketing sophistication and technological prowess.

That was the message from Brian Tyler, president of McKesson’s U.S. pharmaceutical division, to hundreds of franchisees at the 2012 Health Mart Annual Meeting Tuesday. After years of a dramatic buildup in numbers, market penetration and name recognition, Health Mart will undergo another major overhaul as company leaders work with individual franchise owners to improve sales, drawing power and profitability, and to compete more effectively with the national chains.

“We’re calling it Health Mart 2.0,” said Tyler. The goal, he said, is “to essentially refresh our strategic five-year plan.”

McKesson continues to search for a successor to former Health Mart president Tim Canning. In the interim, Tyler and other company officials have met with hundreds of Health Mart store owners around the U.S. to solicit their input and develop new strategies in clinical care, store support and effective marketing for the big franchise chain.

“We’ve hosted many meetings across the United States to shape the future of Health Mart,” Tyler told attendees. “We need to show the chains that we’re not going away: that we are the community pharmacy, and we will always be the community pharmacy.”

Even without a permanent replacement yet named for former Health Mart president Tim Canning, “We will not take our foot off the gas pedal,” said Tyler, in McKesson’s drive to grow Health Mart.

That means giving its members the tools to better provide clinical care to their patients through patient care and adherence programs like McKesson Sponsored Clinical Services and the Pharmacy Intervention Program (PIP), along with new technologies like ScriptAlert that enable community pharmacists to send refill reminders directly to patients’ mobile devices. It means boosting relationships with physicians through the Physician Outreach Program, enhancing operating efficiencies and business capabilities through learning tools like Health Mart University and RxOwnership, and winning clout and contracts with pharmacy benefit managers and health plans through programs like the AccessHealth network of McKesson-supported independent pharmacies.

“We’ve got to be able to take advantage of every revenue opportunity that exists,” urged Kevin Connor, VP and general manager of AccessHealth, in a panel discussion with other McKesson and Health Mart support leaders following Tyler’s speech.

Also underway: new efforts to build up demand among consumers for the non-pharmacy side of Health Mart stores via new front-end promotional efforts and a fast-growing Health Mart line of private-label products. Said Tyler, “We now have more than 330 private-label products,” and the list continues to grow.

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