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Archive for November, 2009

Get a Mile for an Inch

November 24, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: Medtipster, Prescription Savings

Tylar Masters

Tylar Masters

How to get the most out of your doctor’s appointment

We all know the drill… you show up for your doctor’s appointment, you wait X amount of minutes for the nurse to call your name, weigh in (always the fun part, I know), then step in to a room where you’re instructed to sit on an oversized paper gum wrapper and wait. Twenty minutes later, the doctor steps in to ask you about your symptoms, and in many cases, the doctor seems as though they are in a hurry. If you want to make sure you get the most from your doctor during that time, be sure you’re asking the right questions!

Make a list of items you want to discuss, brief your doctor on these items so the two of you can determine which items need to be addressed right away and which items can wait until your next appointment. Keeping a journal or notebook dedicated to health concerns, prescription questions, diet, exercise, etc. is a good idea.

Never be afraid to talk to your doctor about what’s really going on. As my own mother (who is a nurse) once told me, there really isn’t much a doctor hasn’t seen or experienced with another patient. If you’re not sure why your doctor is asking you a specific question, ask! Your doctor is there to help you, no matter how busy they seem to be.

Talk to the nurse at the nurse station before you go into your examination room. Just as the doctors are there to help you, so are their nurses. In many cases, the nurses can answer questions you have about your health. If for any reason they cannot answer a question for you, they will simply tell you that you will need to ask the doctor. Once you leave the examination room, feel free to ask any follow up questions with the nurse. Many times, the nurse will check with the doctor about your question before you leave to clear up any outstanding issues you thought of after leaving the examination room.

Remember that getting the most from your doctor’s time is all about communication. It’s also important to be honest when communicating with your doctor! Doctors go through all those years of education and hard work because they are passionate about healing and helping, YOU!

For more information and a specific list of common questions for your doctor, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) website’s “Questions Are the Answer Series” at www.ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer/.

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
web address: www.medtipster.com

GlaxoSmithKline Requests A Temporary Halt On New Flu Vaccinations in Canada

November 23, 2009 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster, Prescription News

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

GlaxoSmithKline is suspending the use of 170,000 doses of its new H1N1 influenza vaccine in Canada. This is due to a higher-than-usual rate of reported side effects potentially linked to the vaccine.

Potential side effects were rooted from allergic reactions suffered by six people that experienced breathing difficulties and reduced blood pressure in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Side effects are very common for any medication, with a typical ratio of 1.5 : 170,000. It has been reported that all six recovered after a short time.

Flu Shots in the United States are unaffected and are still highly recommended by the AMA and CDC.

Find a flu shot closest to your home at medtipster.com.

I love this job!

November 16, 2009 By: Jason A. Klein Category: Free Prescriptions, Medtipster

Jason Klein

Jason Klein

In a recent blog post on 10/5/09, I made the following comment: “Now the trend appears to be to offer FREE prescriptions. REALLY! We’re all in!”

This comment was in regards to Stater Bros., Albertsons & Meijer pharmacies. These pharmacies offer certain prescriptions for free, such as antibiotics and prenatal vitamins. What I wasn’t doing was offering free prescriptions at medtipster.com.

We don’t actually sell anything, let alone prescriptions on our site. We are a purely informational site that hopes to engage consumers with relevant information for the right reasons, at the right time. If we don’t even sell them, giving them away for free certainly doesn’t fit into our business model. Or does it!?!

I received what felt like a thousand emails from our consumers asking how they could sign up to get their prescriptions for free. GULP!

Whoops! Did I actually imply that this is what we we’re doing and more importantly did that many people actually read my blog post? Apparently so.

As the new president of Medtipster, I certainly couldn’t let that many people down, so I had to think fast.

How do I offer FREE prescriptions to consumers that need them? First step was to engage the pharmacies. There was no way they were going to go for this, but I had to try.

My pitch went something like this: 

Jklein: “Thank you for your time today Mr./Mrs. pharmacy VP. I have an issue. I have thousands of consumers looking for relief on their prescription cost.”

PharmaVP: “Define relief?”

Jklein: “FREE?”

After much laughing, the conversation continued….

Jklein: “Thousands of people have contacted us at  www.medtipster.com looking for pharmacies offering “their” medications at the lowest price. It sounds cliche, but times are tough and people need us now more than ever. What’s the value of  a “bellybutton” walking into your store? We know whom these people are & what drug they’re looking for. Partner with us and I will drive them to your store. 

PharmaVP: “Can you be more specific on the number of people?”

Jklein: “Thousands….”

After a long awkward pause, the conversation continued….

PharmaVP:  “How many FREE prescriptions would you propose our pharmacy give away?”

Jklein: “Up to you. How many “bodies” do you want in your store?”

PharmaVP: “Okay. Let’s give it a go.”

The rest is, as they say, history.

Effective December 1st, 2009 Medtipster (via a partnership with American Sweeps) will be the engine offering Michigan residents access to free medications at select Michigan pharmacies. Consumers will search for their medications & register on medtipster.com. Selected consumers will receive a Medtipster email with a link to a voucher that can be used to redeem their medication at no cost. The voucher will specifically tell enrolled consumers which pharmacy has their selected medication.

This is our beta-test and will be running from December 1st- 31st. The intent for this campaign is to repeat monthly in Michigan, among other states throughout 2010.

Register at www.medtipster.com

So again… “Now the trend appears to be to offer FREE prescriptions. REALLY! We’re all in!”

Thank you for your time, your comments and happy browsing at medtipster.com!

JK

Jason A. Klein
President
Medtipster, LLC.
email: jklein@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

Disney Takes on H1N1

November 16, 2009 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster, Prescription News

In a turn of events, the Disney Big Bad Wolfe may actually beat the Three Little "Swines" this time!

In a turn of events, the Disney Big Bad Wolfe may actually beat the Three Little "Swines" this time!

Disney World takes steps to fight swine flu
(AP) – 2 days ago

ORLANDO, Fla. — How about some hand sanitizer before greeting Mickey Mouse?

In an effort to halt the spread of the swine flu, Walt Disney World has installed dozens of hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the theme park, hotel lobbies and character meet-and-greet areas.

Disney is also reminding visitors of basic health safety tips, like covering their mouths while sneezing and washing hands regularly, on fliers that list park hours and show times.

In all, more than 60 bulk hand sanitizer dispensers have been added at Disney World and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

The health precautions are the most visible steps taken by any of Orlando’s major theme parks since the swine flu outbreak last spring.

Information from: Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Find a pharmacy/mini clinic offering flu vaccines closest to your home by using medtipster.com

Mini Clinics Increase share 15% over last 24 Months

November 16, 2009 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster, Prescription News

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ — Despite the recession, overall growth of the heath care retail clinic market has increased approximately 15 percent in the past two years, according to a new report released today by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Retail clinic market growth, however, will likely slow to 10-15 percent from 2010 through 2012 and will accelerate above 30 percent from 2013-2014, according to the report.

The report, “Retail Clinics: Update and Implications,” suggests that consumer adoption of retail medicine is strong and growing. Additionally, the report suggests that the industry’s potential to expand its revenue opportunities will support its long-term sustainability. The four factors that will likely contribute to the sector’s growth include:

•Increased use and satisfaction by consumers
•Increased use and acceptance by commercial health plans and large employers
•Increased services provided through the retail medicine model
•Increased demand for preventive and primary health care services as a result of health reform and consumer demand

“The growth and evolution of retail clinics reflect opportunities for disruptive innovation and an improved value proposition of price, quality and service for the U.S. health care system,” said Paul Keckley, Ph.D. and executive director, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. “While the current economic downturn has incited a period of contraction, the retail clinic industry will emerge with a more refined business model to drive a second, albeit slower, wave of growth in the next three years.”

Key findings highlighted in the report include:

•Patient Volume Remains Strong: According to the report and Deloitte’s 2009 Survey of Health Care Consumers, 33 percent of consumers indicate they are willing to use a retail clinic, especially younger and middle-aged working adults. Moreover, 30 percent of respondents are likely to use a retail clinic if it would cost them 50 percent less than seeing their physician.

“Retail clinics represent a new channel that can deliver primary care services more conveniently and at lower cost to consumers,” added Keckley. “Clinic services are typically safe and effective, due in large measure to medical management programs that are evidence-based and supported by electronic medical records. Additionally, health insurance plans are increasingly offering coverage of retail clinic visits in their benefits packages for individuals and employers — ‘covered lives’ is a key to growth.”

•Existing Locations: Most retail clinics operate in retail pharmacy settings (82 percent), or as a department or wholly-owned subsidiary of the host organization, such as a grocery store (12 percent) or big-box discount store (6 percent). Notably, 2009 has seen increased activity by acute care organizations entering retail medicine via contractual arrangements with drug store and grocery chains.

•Potential Locations: The market potential for retail clinics remains strongest in retail pharmacies, as within 10,000 retail pharmacies, there are currently 801 clinic locations. However, big-box discount stores and grocery stores have expansion opportunities if these channels selectively leverage services, given:
•Within over 5,000 big-box discount stores, there are currently only 58 clinic locations
•Within over 5,000 grocery stores, there are currently only 115 clinic locations

•The Evolving Business Model: Core services at retail clinics typically include preventative health screenings, prescriptions and over the counter (OTC) therapeutics and uncomplicated primary care. The retail clinic business model is capable of supporting additional revenue streams (zones) unrelated to its core operations:
◦Zone Two: Core extenders including medication management, health coaching for chronic issues and employee wellness
◦Zone Three: New revenue programs including care management services for chronic issues; referral management services for acute, specialty or OTC issues; and health insurance for individuals or groups

•Challenges to Growth: The retail clinic industry faces a few challenges, including labor shortages, compensation inflation, price pressures from new entrants and regulatory pressures from state governments — all of which may slow growth or impede retail clinics from opening. In fact, in some states and localities, regulators are fearful that retail clinics represent a compromise to safe and effective care. Additionally, some local physicians have actively campaigned against retail clinic openings and advised patients to seek care elsewhere.

“As a new entrant to the health care industry, retail clinics represent a threat to many traditional health care stakeholders,” added Keckley. “However, to consumers, health plans and employers, retail clinics offer an important health care alternative with a strong value proposition. Therefore, we expect this new sector to mature while growing its scope of services, locations and impact on population-based health status.”

Find your nearest retail clinic by using medtipster.com

Swine Flu for Dummies

November 13, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

fordummies

Swine Flu for Dummies

With the H1N1 vaccine supply growing, many are still unsure whether or not to be vaccinated.

I have read article after article about pros and cons of receiving the H1N1 Vaccine. Some are waiting in line, scurrying around town, calling and checking daily for the status of the local availability, and some simply don’t want it at all. Regardless of your opinion of action, it’s important to know the facts!

Let’s say, every year for Thanksgiving, my Aunt Judy makes sugar cookies. Every year she adds a yummy topping in the form of the most popular candy that year, like a reese’s peanut butter cup, or mini-snickers. But, this year, there are two candies that are the most popular, M&M’s and gumdrops. So, she made two batches of sugar cookies, one with M&M’s and the other with gumdrops!

That’s a simple analogy to understand what the H1N1 strain is really all about. You see, every year, the vaccine is administered according to what the experts are predicting will infect the population. That particular “strain” is similar to the sugar cookie’s topping, it changes from year to year. This year, however, there are two types of strains predicted to spread, the seasonal flu (we’ll call that the gumdrop sugar cookie) and the H1N1 flu (the M&M sugar cookie).

Medtipster.com is dedicated to bringing you the latest on the availability of both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccinations, as well as key information for you and your family. We are working hard to make sure our database is second to NONE (we mean that!). We know there are other internet sources of H1N1 vaccine locators, and we are thrilled to know that these sources are working just as hard as we are to keep the public informed. However, upon comparison, our database is up to date, accurate, and contains address, phone number, map location, pricing and even notes from the administering clinic.

Now, if all I’ve done here is strengthen your sweet tooth, there are great resources that will explain the details of the H1N1 virus, how to protect yourself from becoming infected, the symptoms of the illness, etc. I’ve listed some great resources below.

H1N1 Response Center by Microsoft: https://h1n1.cloudapp.net/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

The Lancet: http://www.thelancet.com/H1N1-flu

WWJ Newsradio 950 – Michigan: http://www.wwj.com/pages/5367286.php

PS- Happy Friday the 13th!

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

H1N1 Vaccine Now Available at 123 Locations in Ten States

November 05, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

While many wait for the latest information from their local news source, Medtipster.com announces the following have the H1N1 vaccine available:

pathmark

Six Pathmark Supermarkets in NJ offer H1N1 vaccine

A & P Supermarket – 7 stores in New Jersey
Butlers Pharmacy – 1 store in New Jersey
Harmon’s Grocery Store – 9 stores in Utah
CVS’s Minute Clinics – 9 clinics in Florida, Virginia, Michigan, & Missouri
Pathmark Supermarket – 6 stores in New Jersey
Smith’s Food and Drug – 22 stores in Utah
Walmart’s Solantic Clinic – 3 clinics in Florida
Super Fresh Markets – 1 store in New Jersey
Walgreen’s Take Care Clinics – 42 stores in Tennessee, Florida, Nevada, Missouri, Washington & Ohio
Walgreen’s – 18 stores in Utah
Safeway – 2 stores in Washington
Medicap Pharmacy – 1 store in Washington
La Conner Drug – 1 store in Washington
Fred Meyer – 1 store in Washington

The stores with the vaccine available are currently in our database. If you live in one of the above mentioned areas, please visit http://medtipster.com/services.php?type=shots and select H1N1 from the drop down menu and enter you zip code for a list of the locations nearest you.

Continue to visit www.medtipster.com for updates as we receive information on more stores with the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines. Bookmark our home page, add us to your favorites, join our facebook fan page, follow us on twitter! Stay up to date with the latest news on healthcare with Medtipster.com!

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

Short on Vaccine, Tall on Profit?

November 03, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

blackout03

Satellite Image of the Blackout of 2003

Will shortages of seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines cause cost increase?

The State of Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wrote inquiries to 13 different manufacturers of the seasonal flu vaccine, in an effort to ensure the price of these immunizations are staying at the national average price. His office has received complaints that suspect previously negotiated agreements between manufacturers of the vaccine have been reneged, causing clinics and pharmacies to stop offering shots, increase the price, or altogether close doors to consumers.

In my last blog, I showed you a picture of a large retail chain’s pharmacy posting of an 8.5” by 11” white sheet of paper with a typed notice, “FLU SHOTS CANCELLED.” Is this an indication that manufacturers and suppliers are going to pull a “black-out” on us? Remember August 13, 2003 when most northeast and midwest states were powerless for hours and, in some cases, days? Remember what happened at gas stations? In Michigan, we saw lines of cars stretching for a half mile from gas stations to fill up on gas for over $5.00 a gallon!

Will flu shot prices double or triple at some pharmacies? Think about this: a neighborhood pharmacy in a small town knows the vaccine is limited, and there is an easy way to double or perhaps triple a profit. Will they do that to their customers? Will you know if these prices are standard in comparison to the other chain pharmacies, like CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, or Target?

Price comparing on vaccinations is not as easy as price comparing a new washer and dryer from Sears. You won’t get Progressive Car Insurance’s “price comparison” leader board when you walk through your pharmacy’s door. You can’t place a bid on EBay for your healthcare. And definitely don’t expect to see William Shatner, aka “priceline negotiator,” standing in your hallway ready to break out the best deal for you on your healthcare, vaccinations or prescriptions! He’s just good for deals on vacations, you know, since we can all afford* to take one!

Medtipster.com is the only website specifically designed to locate these vaccinations for you, at the lowest cost available, in your neighborhood. Don’t spend hours calling pharmacies, searching online or driving around when www.medtipster.com has the information you need.

*Sarcasm.

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

We Apologize for the Inconvenience

November 03, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

flushotscancelled Pharmacies cancel seasonal flu shots due to the demand for H1N1 vaccine.

When I saw this picture, I immediately thought, “wow, how frustrating for the people who showed up to get a flu shot only to read this sign in disappointment.” Then I sat down to begin blogging about it, and had nothing but writer’s block, or so I thought.

Nope, I don’t have writer’s block. This picture is worth a thousand words!

I have a continuous search running on my twitter tweetdeck for H1N1 and every minute of every day, at least one new tweet mentions H1N1. Everyone is seriously concerned about swine flu! What is most important is preventing it and treating it by knowing when and where the vaccine is available, and where to go for treatment if you have symptoms.

And I just want to shout it from the rooftops! Medtipster.com has this information available! It’s there, I promise! You won’t have to drive around looking and hoping to find the flu shot somewhere. We know what pharmacies have the seasonal flu shot AND the H1N1 vaccine. We know supplies are limited, we know the country is in a panic, we know the frustration people are feeling. Medtipster.com was designed to help!

Medtipster.com is the trusted source for the latest information this flu season! Share this with your friends, your family, your co-workers, your dog walker, even your enemies, whom perhaps would be happy to give you their swine flu!

Avoid the inconvenience, the apologies, and most of all, the headache. Stay informed with www.medtipster.com.

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

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