South Jersey and Philadelphia transition into online learning

South Jersey and Philadelphia transition into online learning

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read April 2020 —Jefferson Health is a multistate, nonprofit health system, including teaching hospitals, centered in Philadelphia. CEO Dr. Stephen Klasko details how earlier actions helped its hospitals get ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of preparation. Klasko also outlines the actions he would like to see from the state and federal governments to deal with the fallout from the pandemic.

What accommodations have you made to handle the influx of patients due to the COVID-19 outbreak? 

No one was totally ready for this pandemic, but Jefferson Health – all 14 hospitals – had a head start in preparing because of two initiatives. More than 10 years ago, Jefferson infectious disease doctor Edward Jasper started leading pandemic drills, and he stockpiled a supply of PPEs (personal protective equipment). In fact, we even sent PPEs to New York City in the early days of the crisis. Second, in 2014, we invested heavily in telehealth, launching JeffConnect, which immediately connects patients by video-call to an emergency department physician. As a result, we didn’t have to rebuild our system when calls went from 50 a day to more than 3,000 a day. Telehealth handled the first wave of the crisis, allowing us to support COVID-19 patients at home, as well as help thousands of people who were sick but not with COVID-19.

How are you working to ensure that patients and healthcare professionals alike are maintaining a safe environment?

Jefferson Health moved very quickly to a “universal masking” policy, requiring all staff to wear masks at work, even if their patients were COVID-negative. We were one of the first hospital systems to adopt universal masking, exactly to ensure we protect our own staff. We were in close contact with our colleagues in Italy, who told us that proper protection for staff dramatically cuts transmission within a hospital. 

Because we were prepared, we are able to allow a loved one to attend our patients during end of life situations, even for COVID-positive patients. We even allow a loved one to attend labor and delivery for a birth. This requires a full procedure of having a nurse escort to attend the loved one. We did this because of the long-term psychological trauma of unresolved grief when families are unable to say goodbye in person. 

How can the community best assist the local healthcare providers in this time of need?

The first answer is the critical one: Do not spread the illness. Our frontline staff are working horrendous hours attempting to save the lives of vulnerable patients. They are isolating themselves from their own children and families in order not to spread the virus. Do not increase their already heavy workload by getting sick yourself. 

But there are also vulnerable populations who need our help. The virus is disproportionately hitting places of congregate living – that includes retirement homes and communities. It is disproportionately hitting people who are poor. And the consequences of staying home are hitting people with medical needs all across society, from uninsured women who cannot get prenatal care, to older people on dialysis. In each case, there is specific advice, which may just be to give money to help not-for-profits that are providing assistance to the poor. 

What is your message to the local community that is sheltering in place and waiting for a return to normalcy?

Many of us are concerned that people with urgent medical issues are delaying treatment plans, not collecting medications, not seeking help. Please tell your family and friends: Do not delay getting help for cardiac and stroke issues. Do not delay taking medications. Stay on your cancer treatment regimen, and if you have the opportunity to join an advanced protocol or clinical trial, you should do that. Very important: Use telehealth to get mental health support if you need it. It may take more work today than it did last year, but please get the help you need. 

Do you feel you are receiving enough state and federal support and what more is needed? 

I believe Congress should immediately convene a COVID Commission along the lines of the 9/11 Commission – it is that serious. We need immediate changes to policy to enhance innovation to fight the immediate threat, but we also need to review the financial implications of this fight for hospitals, and we need to figure out how to ensure the next pandemic doesn’t create a health and economic crisis of this magnitude. On my list of things we need: Immediate access to the internet for all citizens, not just those who can afford a data plan. We need the federal government to lead preparation for surge capacity for intensive care, responding to any crisis. We need to prepare to offer health insurance after massive layoffs. And we need to evaluate the ethics of how we pay for healthcare to ensure equity for disadvantaged communities. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

South Jersey and Philadelphia transition into online learning

South Jersey and Philadelphia transition into online learning

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020As the coronavirus reduced daily activity to only essential services, educational institutions were forced to transition at a moment’s notice into a virtual setting as shelter-in-place measures and social distancing became commonplace. Entire curriculums, testing, labs, and even physical education in some cases, transitioned into an online classroom setting as teachers and students of all grade levels resumed their education under the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These risk-management decisions stressed and challenged the infrastructure of universities, colleges, and schools throughout the nation, while at the same time creating opportunities for innovation in the educational landscape. Although fully online classes are a temporary measure to slow the spread of COVID-19, and as local, state and national governments consider what a reopened economy may look like, educational systems alike are being forced to mitigate the challenges and innovate their educational practices and offerings via learning innovation and digitalization.

In the Philadelphia region, Neumann University transitioned quickly into an online learning setting thanks to close to two years of prior preparation. For the last 24 months, the university has been expanding its online and remote learning capabilities, President Chris Domes told Invest: Insights in a virtual interview. “Our faculty were well-prepared. Our students work off of their devices and their phones, they already live in a virtual world socially, and now they get to live in a virtual world academically,” Domes said. In similar fashion, in New Jersey, the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden, was preparing for a shift in the educational landscape as early as February. In February, the university created an emergency operation center as part of its risk-management strategy, school of nursing Dean Donna Nickitas told Invest: Insights in a virtual interview. “By the time we got to spring break, we knew we were going to have to make some quick changes,” Nickitas said. The nursing school quickly notified students if they needed resources like computers, webcams, and access to remote learning software.

Under the COVID-19 landscape, tuition-dependent institutions are among the most vulnerable as students are liable to put their education plans on pause as they grapple with loss of employment and income. Colleges and universities with strong endowments and alumni contributions will likely survive the impact of COVID-19, but declines in revenue and increases in costs will likely loom for the coming academic years. Declining revenues could stifle innovation as institutions reprioritize budgets and offerings. 

However, a life post-COVID-19 may be ripe with opportunities for innovation and further streamlining of classes. COVID-19 helped destigmatize fully online learning. Moving forward, educational leaders will likely see online education as more than a source for extra revenues. Instead, online education will likely become an integral part of institutional resilience and academic continuity. Educational institutions will have to rethink how they plan for, fund, and market online learning. More unified institutions will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, as online courses and student support functions become more centralized and integrated into existing academic structures and processes. 

After student outreach efforts, Neumann University found that close to 80 percent of its students were adjusting well to the remote learning setting. The university is working to assist all of its students with resources like tutoring, student engagement activities, counseling, and more. The feedback gathered from students will help determine what innovations and changes the institution needs to make for the future, according to Domes. “We are getting initial feedback from our students and are utilizing that to help us understand that moving forward if we remain in this status for some time what are we learning and how might we make this more appropriate for students in the future so that we make sure we are adapting along the way,” he said. For Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden, the school is preparing to continue to groom the next generation of nurses and healthcare professionals. “What we have learned is that we need to be prepared, Nickitas said. Though summer and fall enrollments figures will likely fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nickitas hopes the essentiality of nurses and healthcare professionals will motivate more students to explore a career in medicine. “I do hope that because of the kind of publicity that TV stations and media are giving nurses, that people understand not only what nurses do, but what they know. Hopefully, that will resonate with some individuals and inspire them to say, ‘I want to make a difference, that is what I want to do.’”

Additionally, it is possible that online learning goes truly global as colleges and universities expand their student base to allow for more international students who may never see the inside of a physical campus. 

The lasting impact of COVID-19 to the educational sector remains to be seen. For the time being, it is likely that students will finish the spring semester and potentially the 2019-2020 school year from the comfort of their homes. As educators prepare for summer and fall semesters, they will have to contend with the challenges and opportunities of educating students in a post-COVID-19 world.       

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

To see our full interview with the education leaders and more, visit:

Spotlight On: Gregory Sorensen, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Tower Health

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read April 2020 — Tower Health is a regional, integrated healthcare provider/payer system that oversees six acute care hospitals and other entities serving 2.5 million people. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Gregory Sorensen told Invest: what Tower is doing to handle the influx of COVID-19 patients, the community’s role in fighting the virus and his message to the community.

What accommodations is your hospital making to handle the influx of patients due to the COVID-19 outbreak? 

We monitor our bed capacity hourly. The elimination of elective surgeries and the general decline in routine demand for care has reduced normal bed demand and is freeing up beds for possible use by COVID-19 patients. We will also coordinate bed capacity among Tower hospitals.

How is your hospital working to ensure that patients and healthcare professionals alike are maintaining a safe environment?

Safety for our employees and patients is our top priority. Like other healthcare providers, Tower Health is working very hard to manage and conserve our supplies of masks, eye protection, disinfecting wipes, gowns, and other materials related to controlling the spread of COVID-19. Our normal production sources and distribution channels have been interrupted, just as they have for every hospital in the country. While our inventories are not at normal levels, with careful management we believe we can meet current needs. We are working to acquire additional supply. We are implementing a number of strategies, including sharing supplies across Tower Health facilities; gathering supplies from shuttered outpatient clinical areas and getting them to the hospitals; and identifying alternative sources for supplies. 

How can the community best assist local healthcare providers in this time of need?

We have been gratified by the many offers from area businesses, organizations, and individuals to donate supplies and we are accepting contributions of specific items. More information is available on our web site.

What would your message be to the local community that is sheltering in place and waiting for a return to normalcy?

We encourage all members of the public to adhere to the guidance of the governor and the PA Department of Health on sheltering at home, practicing social distancing and practicing infection prevention. These steps will reduce the spread of COVID-19, which protects the community and helps ensure the safety of our healthcare team and the patients relying on us for care. Our team at Tower Health is committed and prepared to care for our communities through this pandemic. The public can contribute meaningfully to this effort by remaining at home to prevent the spread of the virus.  

Do you feel you are receiving enough state and federal support for items you are in need of? What can these entities be doing better? 

Our public health officials at the local, state and federal levels are working hard to keep the public safe during an unprecedented situation. We support their efforts and are grateful for their dedication, perseverance and leadership. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Spotlight On: Dixieanne James, President & COO, Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia

Spotlight On: Dixieanne James, President & COO, Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020 — Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia is part of the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, a nonprofit organization operating in the state of Pennsylvania. President and COO Dixieanne James discussed Einstein’s actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the network’s effort to ensure a safe environment and what the community can do to help during this time of crisis.


What accommodations is Einstein making to handle the influx of patients due to the COVID-19 outbreak?

Einstein activated our Incident Command Center very early in this outbreak and worked quickly to develop protocols around patient care, procurement of personal protective equipment and employee health among many others. During our work related to COVID-19, we have designated COVID-19-specific care units; developed detailed surge plans that include identifying and converting procedural areas into inpatient acute capacity, including short procedure units (SPU), post-anesthesia recovery area (PACU, Cath lab, endoscopy), cross training and redeploying staffing, including nursing, physicians and clinical technicians, and emergency department rapid assessment plans with additional surge tent capacity; installation of several additional negative pressure rooms; advanced renting and purchasing of additional equipment, including beds, monitors and ventilators; expanding to the extent possible PPE inventory (gloves, gowns, masks); and investing in new equipment and infrastructure to perform in-hospital COVID-19 l testing capacities.

How is the network working to ensure that patients and healthcare professionals alike are maintaining a safe environment?

We have established several policies to help ensure the safest environment possible for our staff and patients. These include: no visitor policy; all employee facemask policy with continually evolving guidelines; daily temperature screening for all visitors and staff; employee and patient COVID-19 testing in our practices; ongoing and real-time adjustment to practice/care recommendations based on guidance and safety updates from CDC and DOH; and additional cleaning, disinfecting and wipe downs in high traffic areas. 

How can the community best assist local healthcare providers in this time of need?

First, we ask that everyone stay home and stay healthy. Social distancing is critically important to help bend the curve.  We also encourage everyone to donate PPE when possible and look for opportunities to give blood through the Red Cross.

What is your message to the local community that is sheltering in place and waiting for things to return to normalcy?

We all have a big part to play.  The community’s part is to continue to stay home while our caregivers work each day to provide care to those in need. If we all do our part, we’ll get through this together and normalcy will return. We are incredibly resilient but it’s important that we wait until we can safely return things to normal. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Let’s get virtual: Six must-read tips for engaging online

Let’s get virtual: Six must-read tips for engaging online

By: Abby Melone

It’s a brave new world for everyone. Quarantine, lockdown, self-isolation and sheltering in place characterize the new normal imposed by COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. In a virtuous cycle, people depend on strong businesses, which depend on a strong economy, which depends on strong businesses that depend on people.


The fact is that people, businesses and the economy shouldn’t just stop, even in such unprecedented times, and perhaps more so because of this crisis. Fortunately, this is also the era of high technology, and there is no time like the present to show just what that technology is capable of, especially in business dealings.


As the pandemic stretches on, more businesses are turning to virtual meetings to get things done. Skype, Zoom … these are the most vital tools for business today. But as everyone has intimately discovered, when an in-person meeting becomes virtual, much can be lost, and the road to disaster can be perilously short when you’re online. We all want to be as effective as if we were physically there, but how do we stay engaging and charming and avoid as many distractions, hiccups and potential disasters as possible?


Like any good professional, you need to know the tricks of the trade. Here are some tips to help:


Positioning of the camera. A wacky camera angle can be extremely distracting. Who wants to see directly into the inside of your nose? Pull down your computer screen slightly to make sure the camera is dead on rather than pointing upward, which most likely is your more natural way to position the screen.


Background noise. There is no better way to turn off the person you are meeting with than some distracting noise. Be conscious of your surroundings, especially now that you are most likely working from home: clanking jewelry, dog barking, roommate or significant other also working from home. 


Distracting background. Make sure you do not give the person you are meeting with the opportunity to focus on a picture of the sports team you love but they hate. Position yourself against an empty wall or something non-distracting.


Don’t look at yourself in the video. Very few of us can resist glancing, or even staring, at our own camera window. Don’t! The person you are meeting can see you are distracted by you and not them. Also, you miss loads of cues from the other person when you are staring into your own eyes. Is the person you are meeting with interested? Engaged? Bored? Distracted? You won’t know unless you are looking at them.


Try to maintain a dialog. It’s easy to steal the “conversation” and talk and talk and talk. Be sure to make time in your presentation to see where the other person is, do they have questions, are they following along?


Know your demo tools: both the functionality of the platform as well as the material you will be showing. The person on your computer screen is watching your every move, so the more comfortable you are with your tools, the more flawless (and therefore impressive) you come across in your meetings. Close out all windows you would not want someone to see before your meeting starts (email, social media, YouTube). Remember: when technology goes wrong, it can take you from being competent and impressive to the alternative in seconds.

Maintaining unity and creating value through virtual meetings

Maintaining unity and creating value through virtual meetings

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020The novel coronavirus forced a global halt to major international, regional and local events. From the NBA season to networking conferences, all gatherings of any size stopped abruptly in an effort to flatten the curve and prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, from spreading further. However, as the population at large becomes accustomed to social distancing, stay at home orders and self quarantining, many events went from a hard stop to full speed ahead virtually. As the business community adjusts to the challenges of the disruption caused by the coronavirus, many institutions are building value and maintaining relationships by maximizing the use of webinars, online classes, video conferences and even virtual happy hours. 


In Philadelphia, World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, an organization dedicated to accelerating global business growth for companies in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South New Jersey, has turned to virtual meetings to stay connected with its members. “We understand how important it is to remain connected with our members and client companies during this challenging time,” Spokeswoman Graziella DiNuzzo told Invest: Philadelphia. “Like many other organizations, we are using Zoom meetings.” The center has maintained rapport with its members as it made the transition to work remotely. “We are handling this transition quite smoothly. We are a staff of seven professionals and have always maintained close contact with our clients via phone and email and working remotely doesn’t slow us down,” DiNuzzo said. 

Bringing members together in this time of uncertainty is among the center’s main goals. “Our member-company meeting is our “Member Conversations,” which we started last year as a way to bring our members together, informally, in our conference room to meet each other, talk and share stories,” DiNuzzo said. “This will be the first time, obviously, that we will hold our Member Conversations virtually and we are looking forward to it. The bottom line is that we have to continue to communicate and support each other during this time. We are all eager to get back to business as usual and we don’t know what that will look like. We are hopeful that it will be a rebirth of ideas and opportunities.”

The video conference platform, Zoom, has quickly become ubiquitous across the virtual events space. Across economic sectors, different institutions are taking advantage of Zoom and similar platforms. To host a successful virtual event, event planners must decide between hosting a virtual meeting or a webinar. “If you expect attendees to mostly just listen,” the best option is a webinar, Zoom advises as part of its digital event best practices. “When you need more back and forth between the audience and the host,” planners should choose a virtual meeting, the platform advises. 

Once the type of digital event has been narrowed down, hosts should hardwire the internet connection to prevent any Wi-Fi-related hiccups or virtual lag. In terms of audio, hosts should test speakers and audio prior to the meeting and minimize any background noise, according to Zoom. Additionally, hosts should dress to impress and make sure to start the virtual event on time. It is important to set the tone of the event and encourage Q&A’s during the virtual meeting or webinar. As a best practice, Zoom recommends the use of the Chat function to keep track of questions and comments. For larger webinars, Zoom offers a PayPal integration to charge the registration fees seamlessly. 

For the time being, social distancing will be part of the mainstream business landscape until at least May. However, many institutions are adjusting and pivoting more and more to the virtual hosting model to build value, share information and regain a sense of community in a time where residents are being asked to self-isolate as much as possible.  

To learn more visit: 

Home sweet office: How to make your home office work

Home sweet office: How to make your home office work

By: Max Crampton- Thomas

4 min read March 2020 The COVID-19 health pandemic has upended daily life in unprecedented ways amid calls from the government for people to social distance and stay home as much as possible. Many businesses have had to close their doors and ask their employees to work from home. While some individuals may be accustomed to working from a home office setting, for a large majority of the working world this is uncharted waters that could benefit from some guidance. Invest: offers some need-to-know tips for working from home during this time of crisis. 



Constant Communication 

Working in an office setting, you often take for granted the ease of communication between you and your colleagues. Situations that could have been resolved by simply walking to someone’s desk now require more effort via other methods of communication. The key is to establish a consistent flow of communication that starts with a daily understanding of what your employees’ schedules will look like on any given day. This can be easily accomplished by having them send out their daily schedules and workload in a quick email at the start of every business day. Communication can then be maintained based around this schedule and productivity can be more easily managed as well. For more direct communication in regard to smaller issues that may not require a phone call, office communication applications like Slack can help facilitate these quick discussions. 

Maintain a Daily Routine 

For almost any working person, maintaining a daily routine becomes second nature. When unforeseen circumstances like COVID-19 interrupt this daily routine, it can throw a person off course quite rapidly, which can result in less productivity and a decrease in focus. The key is to adapt and maintain your daily routine to the changing environment as much as possible. Something as simple as getting dressed in business clothing can seem unnecessary when working from home, especially when staying in pajamas all day may sound a lot more appealing, but maintaining this daily activity can be key in starting your work day off on the right foot and retaining as much normalcy as possible. Make the effort to try and stick to your normal work schedule throughout the day, including taking breaks as you would in the office, eating lunch around the same time you normally would and trying to stick to your typical working hours as best as possible. 

Maintaining Posture (Physical & Mental) 

There are many arguments in favor of the benefits of working from home but maintaining your posture, both physical and mental, is probably not high on that list. From a physical standpoint, in an office setting you are usually sitting in a proper desk chair with a relatively straight back or even standing straight up thanks to standing desks. The same cannot normally be said for a home office setting. In an interview with CBS, New York chiropractor Dr. Joseph D. Salamone said, “Everybody’s going to be in sitting postures, having text neck.These people really need to make precautions and live a healthier lifestyle while we’re in this quarantine state.” He recommended that those who find themselves working from home should practice regular stretching to help maintain posture. For those who have the means and access to the proper resources it would also be advisable to create a proper workstation, not unlike the one you are accustomed to in your own office, as opposed to trying to work from a slouched posture on a bed or couch.
Maintaining posture also relates to mental health as much as physical well-being. Going from working in a sociable setting like an office with other people to unexpectedly working by yourself at home can be quite jarring for the mind. It is vitally important to maintain the social connections that you have grown accustomed to in a normal workday, like lunch with coworkers. This social time does not have to be lost as technology has made it so you can use your lunchtime from home to speak with or even video call with coworkers and friends. There is also the underlying issue of potential for increased anxiety during this time of isolation, especially with the influx of nonstop news about COVID-19. It’s crucial that individuals limit the daily amount of time they spend consuming this news, and instead focus their attention on other matters like work, family and the home. 

Creating A Proper Workspace

A proper home workspace may help in maintaining posture but it is also important in helping to facilitate as normal a daily routine as possible. In theory, this workspace is where an individual will spend the majority of their eight-hour working day, so it is crucial that this space is not only comfortable but also practical for achieving daily tasks. Find somewhere in the house that you can maintain your workstation without much interruption, and if possible, somewhere that has access to natural light. Working from home can also be tricky as the lines become blurred between workspace and home space, resulting in it becoming harder to “switch off” after a full working day. It is important to try and establish this workspace in a section of the home that allows you to “step into” work at the beginning of the day and “step out” of work at the end. 

To learn more, visit:

For up-to-date advice on the Coronavirus response, you can check the CDC website here.  For Florida-specific information, click here 



Philly’s venture funds capitalize on momentum

Philly’s venture funds capitalize on momentum

By: Sara Warden

2 min read March 2020 — According to a recent report by the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) and Pitchbook, Philadelphia’s 2019 venture investment of $2.5 billion puts the city in seventh place nationally as a VC giant. And as more and more funding flows into Philadelphia, venture capital investment shows no sign of slowing down.


In 2019, 225 deals were recorded in Philadelphia, totaling just over $2.5 billion, up just slightly in number of deals since 2018, but notably, deal value has skyrocketed. In 2018, Philly’s VC deals were worth just under $1.5 billion. Across all stages, median deal values have increased, with angel and seed investment in 2019 coming in at a median $1.2 million compared with $600,000 in 2018, early VC doubling to $3.8 million from $1.9 million in 2018 and late VC reaching $7.5 million from $4.2 million in 2018.

The most active investor is Ben Franklin Technology Partners of southeastern Pennsylvania, according to the report, having funded 356 deals. It is a leader in seed capital investments with over $200 million invested over 35 years, launching over 2,000 companies. It is not just volume that counts, but also value. In a record for a Philly-based company, the largest funding round in 2019 was for food delivery service goPuff, which raised $750 million.

But despite this momentum, Philadelphia still has a way to go before it can catch up to VC hubs such as San Francisco, the report says. “Deal size inflation for Philly—though broadly consistent with the YoY persistence of rising valuations across the US—has yet to push median deal sizes to levels reached elsewhere,” the report said. “For example, the median for an early-stage deal in Philadelphia was $3.8 million—roughly half the US median.”

So what are Philadelphia investors doing about it? One lawyer, Ajay Raju, is setting up three new VC funds in the city to capitalize on its success. “There is no shortage of talented founders with great ideas and road maps who are designing the future,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The three companies – 215 Capital, Backswing Ventures and Togo Ventures – will target different investors and aim funds at different sectors. 

215 Capital will be an exclusive, subscription-only Series A pledge fund with just 100 investors and a focus on technology, whether in software as a service or real estate technology. Togo Ventures will focus on the pharma industry, from digital health to clinical trials. And Backswing will be “sector agnostic” to bridge the gap for anything in between. 

“We are geography-agnostic and return-devout,” Raju told the Inquirer in an interview, but admitted that Philadelphia has plenty of opportunities ripe for investment and entrepreneurs hungry for capital to realize their ideas. “Philly’s innovation ecosystem needs capital and plenty of it,” he said.


To learn more about our interviewees, visit:


Pharmacies Going the Extra Mile in Philadelphia

Pharmacies Going the Extra Mile in Philadelphia

By: Sara Warden

2 min read February 2020 — According to research from the University of Texas, 13-27% of ER visits in the United States could be managed in physician offices, clinics, and urgent care centers, generating $4.4 billion in annual savings for the health system. As the population grows and hospitals become saturated, Philadelphia’s private sector innovation is helping to lift the burden.

Last month, pharmacy giant CVS launched 13 HealthHUBs across Philadelphia and South Jersey, with the goal of offering patients a broader range of health services than are normally available in pharmacies. “The purpose of this model is to put patients at the center of their care,” said Anthony Riccardo, regional director for CVS Pharmacy, at the launch of the Folsom HealthHUB in the Delaware County branch. “Customers tell us they want local access to convenient, personalized and integrated healthcare. Our HealthHUB locations do just that — helping to elevate the store into a community-based healthcare destination.”

CVS leverages its impressive countrywide coverage on the front lines to bring additional services to the community, decreasing the probability that symptoms will worsen and lessening the burden on secondary healthcare providers. The services provided range from counseling patients with chronic conditions, to smoking cessation plans and health screenings, with a focus on addressing potential problems before they arise.

The company is not the only business in the private sector that sees the potential pharmacies can contribute to the healthcare sector. Last month, Philadelphia also welcomed Medly Pharmacy, a company that is tackling inefficiencies in pharmacy operations through an app and service platform that simplifies the process of filling a prescription.

Although the main draw of the store is its online platform, the company’s co-founder, Chirag Kulkarni, recognizes the need to also have a physical store established in the city. “I can say 99% of our customers have never walked into our pharmacy,” he said in an interview with Philadelphia Business Journal. “But it’s critical from a brand perspective to have a pharmacy a person can go into if they wanted. There is a level of trust in medicine, and with a pharmacy having that brick and mortar location brings legitimacy.”

So why are these companies attracted to Philadelphia? For Medly, the city has proximity to its key markets in New York and New Jersey and a similar level of population density, making it a logical choice for expansion. The median age in Philadelphia is also 34.3, and with a younger population also comes the desire for new technological advances to make everyday life more convenient. “Our research found that from a geographic viewpoint, Philadelphia is very similar to where we operate now in that it has high concentrations of population in certain areas,” he said. “We also saw a strong need for something like what we offer.”


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