WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Sep 17, 2012) - Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (NASDAQ: WAG), the nation's largest drug store chain, and Rx Response, an initiative of the bio-pharmaceutical supply system, today announced a new health care collaboration developed to help ensure patient access to medications following a natural disaster.
The relationship centers around the Rx Response Pharmacy Status Reporting Tool (PSRT) and enhancements made to the tool as a result of the Rx Response-Walgreens relationship. The PSRT is an online program that allows emergency managers and the public to readily locate open pharmacies in communities that have been impacted by severe weather or other events. The tool was first developed by Rx Response in 2009.
In partnership with the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), Emdeon/eRx, and Relay Health, the PSRT monitors electronic billing transmissions from pharmacies to insurance processing companies. When a pharmacy is transmitting electronic billing data, it is presumed open and Rx Response posts the pharmacy's location on an interactive map on the Rx Response website. An enhanced version of the PSRT has been created thanks to the collaborative relationship between Walgreens and Rx Response. Walgreens becomes the first U.S. pharmacy chain to provide status reports on its pharmacies directly to Rx Response, to help ensure more timely reporting on Walgreens stores able to help serve impacted communities.
The tool was most recently deployed in response to Hurricane Isaac and its enhanced capabilities provided federal, state and local emergency management officials with valuable assistance in the days following the hurricane.
"Medications, especially for those with chronic conditions, can be one of the most important health care needs that are difficult to meet in the aftermath of a natural disaster," said Tim Belka, Walgreens director of global security services. "By giving people a place to go for information and critical pharmacy or health care services during a time of crisis, Walgreens and Rx Response can help with disaster relief efforts for impacted communities. As a community health and daily living destination, our stores can also serve as a convenient and centralized aid station during crisis situations."
Rx Response developed the PSRT when it recognized that state and local emergency managers struggled to report on the availability of health care services during and after emergencies. Rx Response was able to address this challenge by providing quick and reliable insight into the operating status of pharmacies in disaster-affected areas through its PSRT.
The Walgreens-Rx Response relationship is one of several key initiatives Walgreens has implemented in recent years to strengthen its disaster relief efforts to better serve customers in impacted communities. Earlier this year, Walgreens established its Security Operations Center (SOC), located in Deerfield, Ill. The SOC is available 24/7 to assist Walgreens team members with incidents that can affect operations. The SOC has provided Walgreens with improved situational awareness and enhanced capabilities to monitor severe weather and other events that may disrupt business operations. This new capability proved instrumental earlier this year as Colorado battled widespread wildfires. Staff in the SOC were able to monitor the path of the wildfires and communicate with stores potentially impacted by the fires to provide emergency response support. This included instructions on emergency closings for pharmacies and how to expedite the ordering of emergency supplies.
"We applaud Walgreens for becoming the first pharmacy to work directly with Rx Response to enhance the value of our Pharmacy Status Reporting Tool," said Rx Response Director Erin Mullen. "Our relationship with Walgreens will also give us a new level of visibility into what citizens impacted by a disaster will be asking of their community pharmacies."
Mullen encouraged other companies interested in partnering with Rx Response to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.