Walgreens Developing Initiatives to Succeed in the Consumer Health Market

Walgreens and primary care provider VillageMD are working together in a new partnership aimed at improving access to primary care in Houston. This is the latest initiative by Walgreens, as it struggles to develop a strategy that will help it succeed in the consumer health market.

As part of its strategy, Walgreens is opening urgent care centers close to its stores in several markets with United Health Group’s MedExpress, senior clinics in a partnership with Humana, and recently a collaboration with McLaren Health Care to expand pharmacy and healthcare services in Michigan.

VillageMD, in the most recent agreement,  will operate primary care clinics, branded Village Medical at Walgreens, next to five Walgreens stores in the Houston area, with the first set to open by the end of 2019.

The 2,500-sq.-ft. clinics will offer primary care services for adults and seniors that will be integrated with pharmacists, nurses and social workers, and they will use VillageMD’s docOS system. In VillageMD, Walgreens is partnering with a company that will operate primary care clinics that have contracts with physicians. The companies said they would continue to explore expansion of Village Medical at Walgreens clinics in Houston and other markets.

MedExpress and Walgreens opened 15 urgent care locations in six states in 2018, but have not appeared to expand the collaboration to date in 2019. The objective is to connect primary care with the corner drugstore.

Additional initiatives by Walgreens has included a partnership with Microsoft to develop new healthcare delivery models by combining Microsoft Azure’s cloud and AI platform with Walgreens’ outpatient healthcare and retail footprint. Working with Microsoft, Walgreens plans to pilot up to 12 store-in-store “digital health corners” to sell certain healthcare-related hardware and devices. Walgreen’s is also working with Alphabet Inc.’s life sciences research arm, to use technology to help patients with diabetes and medication management.

Additionally, Walgreens and LabCorp® announced their mutual commitment in 2018 to a significant expansion of their LabCorp at Walgreens collaboration. The two companies agreed to open at least 600 LabCorp patient service centers at Walgreens stores across the U.S. over the next four years, inclusive of the 17 locations that have opened since they first announced their consumer-focused initiative in June 2017.