Inside This Issue - Opinion
Community pharmacy brought into spotlight
September 3rd, 2012
by Jeffrey Woldt
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Pharmacy and Technology Conference, the final installment of which took place at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver last month, included a notable innovation.
Prominently positioned on the show floor was an exhibit called Pharmacy Connect, where local pharmacists from NACDS member companies — including Costco, Kmart, Pharmaca, Rite Aid, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Walgreens and Walmart — offered patient counseling and other services to attendees.
The purpose of Pharmacist Connect, which provided health screenings, flu shots and first aid care in addition to counseling, was to highlight retail pharmacy’s expanding role in the prevention and treatment of illnesses and the positive impact that intervention has on limiting total health care costs.
"Pharmacist Connect brought the neighborhood community pharmacy right to conference attendees," says NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. "This interactive experience is just one more example of how NACDS is revolutionizing industry trade shows."
The exhibit bodes well for the type of innovation that’s promised for Total Store Expo, the omnibus show that will encompass the pharmacy conference, NACDS Marketplace and the association’s supply chain and logistics meeting beginning next August. By bringing front-line pharmacists to the pharmacy conference, NACDS provided a vivid demonstration of what the business is all about.
Some might ask, however, whether the vast majority of the attendees needed that reminder. Impressive as Pharmacist Connect was, it did have an element of preaching to the converted. NACDS would do well to think about taking the concept and deploying it in other venues where people have less familiarity with community pharmacists and their contributions to health care. Direct exposure to such professionals would do a world of good at gatherings of government officials responsible for health care policy, benefits managers at large employers and consumer advocates.
NACDS should be commended for adding an interesting new twist to one of its signature events. Now it needs to figure out how that concept might best be applied in other settings where it can influence a broader audience and enhance the standing of the pharmacy profession.