Leveraging tech to engage consumers


The mounting costs of health care and the rise of high-deductible health plans are biting deep into Americans’ pocketbooks as payers shift more of the cost burden onto their members. Meanwhile, public and private plan payers are demanding more cost-effective modes of front-line care and shifting the focus to wellness, disease prevention and successful outcomes.

(Click here to download the full Retail Health Summit special report.)

How can pharmacy and health retailers step up with solutions to those challenges? And what role can technology play in the evolution of more accessible, more affordable and more integrated retail-based health care?

In search of answers, Walmart U.S. SVP of business development Jane Ewing joined moderator Chris Dimos and a panel of executives from leading health technology companies — including higi CEO Jeff Bennett, Great-Call CEO David Inns, Honor head of health integration Kelsey Mellard, Startup Health director strategic partnerships Katya Hancock, Life Bio founder and CEO Beth Sanders, 23andMe VP international Jon Ward and IBM Watson Health VP partnerships and solutions Kathy McGroddy Goetz — to explore how retailers can leverage technology to help drive consumer-directed and retail-based health care part of a one-day thought leadership summit co-hosted by Drug Store News in partnership with Mack Elevation Forum, and aimed at activating retail as the center of the healthcare system.

To do so, Ewing and other panelists said retailers must fully connect with their customers as community-based health-and-wellness resources, using technology to enable virtual “communities of care” alongside doctors, hospital care coordinators and other health stakeholders.

“It’s about health, not just getting better,” Ewing said. “How do we help customers to live a healthier life, and how do we make it easier for them? How do we as a retailer pull this together and provide a solution?”

Providing solutions means, in part, using technology to build “a 360-degree view of the patient” through “meaningful data inputs and outputs,” said Dimos, SVP of corporate strategy and business development at McKesson.

“This is a patient journey,” Dimos noted. “We have to look for the unmet needs of the shopper. How do we walk along this journey, and how do we create value?”

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