ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets here will supplement its prescriptions with customized patient-specific educational information and offers for related health products through Medi-Link, a point-of-care pharmacy-marketing system.
The system, from North Kingston, R.I.-based HealthCare Data Corp., will be rolled out to all 58 Wegmans pharmacies in January.
Terms of the multi-year deal, signed last month, were not released.
"After careful consideration, we believe that Medi-Link will provide an essential technology link in our strategy to enhance patient-specific communication. Our market research continues to both illustrate and reinforce the value of providing patient-specific health and wellness information," said Mark Valesano, Wegmans' director of pharmacy, in a press statement.
Other chains using the system include ShopRite Supermarkets, a subsidiary of Wakefern Food Corp.; Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., owned by Ahold USA, as well as drug retailers CVS and Eckerd.
An official for the 59-store chain deferred any further comment to HDC.
"It works along with the pharmacy dispensing system," explained Robin Foote, spokesman for HDC, which develops, maintains and services the proprietary software. "It's virtually transparent in the dispensing operations." No data entry, additional hardware or appreciable training is needed for Medi-Link, according to Foote.
As an example of how the system works, he said, a patient with high blood pressure would receive a printout of information that would help the patient understand and adhere to the prescription regimen if the patient is taking hypertension medication.
The system will also allow Wegmans to attach coupons good chainwide to prescription labels. "A module incorporates laser-printed prescription-specific coupon offers. That's integrated right into the pharmacy's base prescription label document," said Foote. Documents containing manufacturer promotions, drug-compliance programs and behavioral communications are also collated along with prescription labels, said Foote.
Participating manufacturers include Schering-Plough, Liberty Corner, N.J.; Novartis, Summit, N.J.; and AstraZeneca, Wilmington, Del. More manufacturers were being wooed at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' 42nd annual conference in San Diego, Aug. 29 to Sept. 1. Targeting manufacturers at NACDS was "a big focus of our initiative in announcing Wegmans rollout of this capability," said Foote, who attended the conference. Wegmans personnel were also there. "Pharmaceutical, OTC and health and beauty care manufacturers, along with [Wegmans], can incorporate whole-health product [promotions] and OTC and prescription drug compliance."
He added, "The mission here is to partner with the manufacturers to provide a more effective and targeted reach for many direct-to-consumer campaigns that have been directed just though mass-media channels. It provides the manufacturer with a highly targeted vehicle that gets dispensed and distributed with an opportunity for interaction with the pharmacist."