Integrative Nutrition Blog

Health Coaches in Rite Aid? Pharmacy Chains Adapt to Healthcare Crisis

September 8, 2014

Have a Rite Aid in your neighborhood? Exciting news: you may now be able to find a Health Coach next to the prescription drop-off!

People today are alarmingly dependent on prescription drugs to maintain their baseline health. Some new initiatives to combat this issue come from the unlikeliest of places: the very pharmacies where people go to fill their prescriptions!

With the healthcare system in crisis, a shortage of primary care physicians, insurance companies looking to cut costs, and a nation riddled with health issues, big retail pharmacies are adapting the model they use to help patients. The core of the new model relies on employing teams of highly-trained health professionals who can provide ongoing assistance, personalized care, and preventative wellness counseling for patients.

Sound familiar?

If the description above sounds like a Health Coach to you, you’re not alone. Rite Aid has begun hiring Health Coaches to employ in stores, while Walgreens is looking for what it calls “health guides” and CVS has begun to employ nurse practitioners. It’s all part of a larger shift that signals the healthcare industry recognizing that there’s a massive gap in the current doctor-patient dynamic.

The goal of these new programs is to help fill this gap by helping these pharmacy chains become a place where patients can go for chronic or minor health issues that might otherwise take them to the doctor’s office. As Rite Aid said in their official press release announcing the new Health Coaching services, their coaches will provide support to individuals with chronic conditions and “work with the physician and patient on an ongoing basis to improve the patient’s overall health and self-management abilities.” For Health Coaches looking to find a way into the healthcare system and tackle a nationwide issue from the inside out, this could be a very interesting and promising path to explore.

What do you think of these new initiatives from the big pharmacy chains? Is this a positive trend, or should we be wary of for-profit companies delivering any sort of healthcare? We’re eager to hear your thoughts—let us know in the comments below!

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