Walgreens Reveals New Internal Digital Healthcare Startup

The new platform will blend digital and physical services to help patients find and access care.

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Need to Know

  • Popular drugstore chain Walgreens is developing an internal healthcare startup that will create a modern patient platform.
  • Comprised of a 200-person team, the new healthcare platform will blend physical and digital tools to help patients better manage their care.
  • In recent years, Walgreens has invested in digital to stay competitive, including improving their app, launching a digital “coverage advisor”, and partnering with major names like Microsoft.
  • News of the internal startup was shown at a 2021 JPMorgan conference.

Analysis

In an effort to expand its digital offerings, pharmacy giant Walgreens is establishing an internal healthcare startup that will create a patient platform that blends physical and digital tools. 

Utilizing a 200-person team, Walgreens is set to a modern healthcare platform that will allow patients to better manage their care. 

According to Walgreens global CFO James Kehoe, the platform will “allow patients to choose how they want to manage their healthcare, whether digitally or in-person, making the experience personalized for patients. It will also provide a marketplace that allows patients to find and get care.”

Walgreens’ healthcare platform will serve as a “single, omnichannel healthcare interface” that will deliver solutions on a patient’s mobile device, at home or in-store. The personalized service will integrate customer health information and marketplace data to support customers’ healthcare. 

The platform’s ultimate goal is to “improve patients’ care outcomes, simply their healthcare experience, and lower costs for the health system, which is currently too complex and confusing.”

The major drugstore has prioritized innovation as of late, modernizing its practices by investing in automation and other digital initiatives.

In January of 2020, Walgreens announced that their app had been downloaded 60 million times, an increase of 12% from the year prior and an indication that their investment in digital is paying off. 

Later that year, Walgreens launched the Find Rx Coverage Advisor, a tool available on the Walgreens website and mobile app that uses consumer information to build a personalized report detailing available customer health coverage options.

And just this week, Walgreens announced the acquisition of iA, a “provider of software-enabled automation solutions for retail, hospital, federal healthcare, and mail-order pharmacy markets.” The investment is expected to help Walgreens improve patient care with the “accuracy and efficacy of today’s pharmacy automation solutions” and “unleash the full potential of pharmacy.” 

The drugstore has also landed a number of strategic partnerships with reputed brands like VillageMD and Microsoft to stay competitive. 

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