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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