JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores here is rolling out kiosks that upgrade current blood pressure machines located near the pharmacy to units that offer many more services, said Mike LeBlanc, director of pharmacy business development.
From Lifeclinic International, Burtonsville, Md., the LC500 health stations measure blood pressure, but also heart rate, weight, body mass index, body fat and blood oxygen. They also allow downloads from off-the-shelf blood glucose monitors, and uploads to a website where patients can track their measurement trends and print out records to show to their physicians or pharmacists for the purpose of medication therapy management. The online capabilities are accessible from Winn-Dixie's website, as well as Lifeclinic's.
Winn-Dixie now has about six of the kiosks in stores — the first went into a storm-damaged and now remodeled New Orleans supermarket last fall — and the retailer hopes to have them in 75 stores by the end of the year, and in all 400 supermarkets with pharmacies within two to three years, LeBlanc said. Winn-Dixie has a total of 520 stores.
“From a retailer's standpoint, it brings us closer to the health and wellness vision that we have for our stores. It also ties back to the patient's primary care physicians and allows them to have a more proactive role in their health care management,” LeBlanc said.
Other stores that have the advanced health kiosks are the Bloom banner of Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C.; Wal-Mart's Sam's Club, Bentonville, Ark.; and H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, which has 180 units, although they are not yet networked, said David Read, senior vice president, marketing, Lifeclinic International.
One reason for the slow rollout at Winn-Dixie is technology issues related to security and patient confidentiality, Read said. The kiosks are initially being placed in remodeled stores, but “gradually, over the next two years, we will get the units networked in all 400 of their pharmacies,” Read said.
With its one-stop-shopping convenience, “the supermarket pharmacy is an entry point to health and wellness information for many shoppers. Here is even more information that they can provide to their shopper-patients,” Read said.
“The supermarket is becoming the primary delivery source from a very real and practical sense of how people manage their health,” said Jim Wisner, president, Wisner Marketing Group, Libertyville, Ill. “This is just one more iteration of that.
Retailers like Winn-Dixie lease the machines from Lifeclinic, then share in the revenues from advertising on the kiosks, Read said, noting that there are variations in this practice, with some purchasing the kiosks outright. LeBlanc confirmed that the lease/revenue sharing arrangement is in place at Winn-Dixie, although he would not divulge specifics. “The potential for ad revenue is greater with this machine than our older blood pressure units,” LeBlanc said.
Advertisers are generally those who offer products in the supermarket, and who are trying to appeal to customers seeking a healthier lifestyle, he said.
When Winn-Dixie installed the first of the new units in the New Orleans store, people lined up to use it for the first few weeks the store was open, he said. Pharmacists were involved explaining how the kiosks worked, what the screenings were for and how to use the information with their physician or pharmacist, he said.
Customers are not required to do all the tests, which might take 5 to 10 minutes total, and also do not have to sign up for the online component, LeBlanc said. He also emphasized that the machine is for screenings, not diagnostics such as the patient might receive in a doctor's office.