JANUARY 01, 2007
Iris Rosendahl

EVERY RETAIL OPERATION WANTS to stand out in the minds of its customers, so the pharmacies in Safeway stores make their mark by emphasizing pharmaceutical services. "We are a very service-oriented company," said Brian Hille, RPh, director of pharmacy care, Houston, Tex. "We emphasize the convenience of the pharmacy in Safeway stores. Our programs are centered on health and wellness; we want to keep our customers healthy."

Safeway offers a variety of pharmacy care services, he explained. Key programs include the flu vaccination campaign, disease state screenings, and medication therapy management programs. As part of the flu vaccination program, pharmacists administer shots and conduct in-store flu clinics throughout the season.

Safeway has also partnered with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to sponsor the ADA Diabetes Expo, which gives pharmacists an opportunity to counsel the public about this disease and provide screenings, said Hille. The Expo is targeted at all patients with diabetes and their loved ones, he explained. "The pharmacists provide patients with information about management of diabetes as well as testing devices. They can show patients how different devices work. In addition, dietitians are available to talk to patients about nutrition; podiatrists inform patients how to take care of their feet; in some expos, dentists focus on dental care and ophthalmologists on eye care."

Safeway pharmacists have an unprecedented opportunity to enhance patient care and build new revenue streams based not on dispensing, but on assuring safe and effective medication use through the latest program called Medication Therapy Management (MTM), said Hille. "The MTM program is an important part of Safeway's business strategy. It includes face-to-face consultation about patients' therapy through a one-on-one interaction between the patient and the pharmacist that can last as long as an hour," he said. "For years, I have heard the profession talk about getting paid for cognitive services on a widespread basis. Now it's coming true," said Hille.

What makes Safeway attractive to the new pharmacist? Hille says "it's our work environment. We will attract the pharmacists who want to work with the public. It's more than count, pour, lick, and stick. We are offering services that are beyond the standard community practice. The pharmacists are going to get a chance to deliver these patient care services to their patients."

Ms. Rosendahl is a freelance writer based in Fort Lee, NJ.

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