Women living in the Cincinnati area no longer have to go to their physicians' offices for mammograms. Instead, they can have the test when they shop at their nearest Kroger Food Store.
As part of Anthem's Healthy Woman program, Cincinnati-based Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will provide screening tests for breast cancer, skin and heart health, and osteoporosis at 20 of the 96 Kroger stores in the Greater Cincinnati area. In addition, information kiosks filled with healthcare brochures on topics such as incontinence, depression and cervical cancer will be placed in all the stores. Healthcare experts and women who have recovered from various diseases will give presentations at certain stores.
"Kroger was a perfect place to launch an initiative and inform women about their health risks," says Virginia Watson-Rouslin, Anthem's head of marketing for women's health. "Women shop and tend to get prescriptions filled more often than men. Women will go (to the grocery store) more than to the doctor's office."
Nurses from the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, which operates major hospitals in the region, will administer the tests and answer questions.
Kroger Food Stores and Proctor & Gamble Co., both based in Cincinnati, are co-sponsoring the "one-stop-shopping" initiative, which began Feb. 24. Along with Anthem, they are also sponsoring a women's health conference March 19 to 21 in Cincinnati.
"We wanted to expand the reach of that conference," Watson-Rouslin says. "At the moment, this is a big educational project. We're trying to teach our members how to prevent these conditions, how to recognize symptoms if they do occur and what the best treatment options are."
Anthem, which insures more than 5 million residents in Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, expects the program to help educate 100,000 women in the Cincinnati area.
Anthem markets to women because most healthcare consumers are women, the company says. According to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, women make 75% of healthcare decisions for their families.
"Women use our services more than men do," Watson-Rouslin says. "We know that they want a lot of information. We know they're demanding."
Other healthcare organizations have filled grocery-store aisles with health screening equipment and brochures. Crouse Hospital, Syracuse, N.Y., brought blood-sugar screenings and diabetes information to Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets (April 20, 1998, p. 46). And the Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn., set up health information centers in Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie grocery stores (May 11, 1998, p. 46).