Retail News Breaks
IT solutions improve drug chains' efficiency, insight
September 23rd, 2013
NEW YORK – Drug chains are sharpening their efficiency and decision-making in back-end and customer-facing functions across their organizations with the help of applications that enable them to better harness and manage data.
Within the past week, three technology firms announced IT agreements with leading pharmacy chains.
Last Thursday, health care solution provider Inovalon said it has entered a multiyear pact with Walgreen Co. to provide its Electronic Patient Assessment Solution Suite (ePASS) to the chain's Healthcare Clinics inside Walgreens drug stores. Also on Thursday, commercial real estate software firm AMTdirect announced that Rite Aid Corp. is adopting its eponymous software solution to manage the retailer's portfolio of more than 5,800 locations.
And this Monday, business solution provider UXC Eclipse said it has been enlisted by Jean Coutu Group to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail, an end-to-end operations and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for retailers.
For Walgreens, the ePASS data-driven encounter support platform stands to bring a higher degree of care to the more than 400 Healthcare Clinic locations. The solution delivers advanced analytics to the point of care, supporting the identification and resolution of gaps in quality, care, assessment, documentation and risk score accuracy — resulting in improved patient outcomes, health provider insight and health plan performance, according to Inovalon.
"This agreement represents another step in Walgreens ongoing commitment to improving access and bringing innovative solutions to the healthcare marketplace," Heather Helle, divisional vice president for Healthcare Clinic, said in a statement. "Through this partnership, we'll be able to utilize the power of analytics to provide a higher level of individualized care to our patients, which will ultimately improve the patient experience and outcomes."
"We'll be able to utilize the power of analytics to provide a higher level of individualized care to our patients."
— Heather Helle, Walgreens' Healthcare Clinics
ePASS leverages insights from the ongoing analysis of more than 7 billion medical events in Inovalon's Medical Outcomes Research for Effectiveness and Economics Registry (MORE2 Registry), enabling a patient-specific encounter, Inovalon noted.
"The health care landscape is rapidly evolving through the material growth in membership within Medicare Advantage and managed Medicaid health plans, in addition to the launch of the Health Insurance Exchange Marketplaces," explained Keith Dunleavy, president and chief executive officer of Bowie, Md.-based Inovalon. "Bringing advanced analytics directly to the point-of-care environment is a critical element in achieving meaningful health care goals. We are proud to partner with Walgreens to improve health care outcomes and promote healthier lifestyles for our client health plan membership populations."
Meanwhile, Rite Aid sought to replace its legacy real estate system with a more comprehensive solution. Cornelius, N.C.-based AMTdirect said its integrated platform will help the drug chain hone its real estate strategy by consolidating data, streamlining key business processes and improving decision-making at all levels within the organization.
Specifically, Rite Aid was looking for software that would unify its complex real estate portfolio and provide a scalable platform with robust accounting and reporting tools, according to AMTdirect, which added that the chain also wanted an application that would address all parts of its real estate lifecycle and manage information in a way that was accessible and intuitive for stakeholders throughout the company.
"We knew with a portfolio as large and complex as ours, there were very few solutions in the marketplace that could handle our needs," stated Jon Rudy, senior director of real estate accounting for Rite Aid. "Not only was AMTdirect the most feature-rich solution, but their product seemed tailor-made for managing our diverse portfolio of owned locations, leased stores and subtenant arrangements. It was also clear that their implementation team had the most experience of any vendor when it came to converting from existing systems and migrating data from numerous internal sources."
AMTdirect pointed out that its solution's high degree of usability and AMTdirect MobilePro app for workers on the go will promote faster adoption and improve access to key real estate information.
"We couldn't be happier to announce this partnership with Rite Aid and welcome one of the nation’s largest and most dynamic retailers to the AMTdirect family," commented Daniel Schubert, co-founder and president of AMTdirect. "Adding yet another major retailer and converting them from an outdated lease administration system is a testimony to our technology."
In Canada, Jean Coutu Group saw the need for a single, scalable solution with both omnichannel (in-store, online and mobile) retail management and multilanguage capabilities. UXC Eclipse said it demonstrated that Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail was the best solution for the Quebec-based drug chain based on the system's out-of-the-box functionality and integration capabilities.
Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail connects key point-of-sale and headquarters processes with ERP and financials to reduce complexity and improve operational efficiency from sales to supply, in turn driving growth and fostering customer relationships.
"We have chosen UXC Eclipse as our retail partner because we truly felt they understood our business's needs," stated Alain Boudreault, vice president and chief information officer for Jean Coutu Group, whose retail franchise network encompasses 407 drug stores. "With an excellent track record in the retail industry, we are confident in their ability to deliver."
As an omnichannel solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail for example can enhance the customer experience by managing payments across channels — including mixing and
matching payment providers by channel, buying online and returning to a physical store, and leveraging support for shopping carts, according to Microsoft. The platform also enables users to create and publish catalogs and manage offers across multiple channels.
"We are proud to be partnering with the Jean Coutu Group in delivering their new retail solution," commented Dave Weiner, CEO for North America at New York-based UXC Eclipse. "As our team has serviced some of the very first and most successful customers on Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail, we are confident that our proven implementation methodologies and focus on quality will result in new business efficiencies for the Jean Coutu Group now and in the future."
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