Walgreens debuts online health research center

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Chief medical officer Harry Leider helps lead research team

DEERFIELD, Ill. — To help promote more effective and efficient patient care, Walgreens has launched the Center for Health & Wellbeing Research, a website with more than 50 Walgreens outcomes studies conducted over the past six years.

Walgreens said Tuesday that the new Walgreens.com/research site provides summaries, links and original documents related to company research reports and studies published in peer-reviewed medical and health care publications, as well as research presented at scientific and industry conferences.

Harry Leider_Walgreens

Harry Leider, Walgreens’ chief medical officer

Areas of study on the Walgreens Center for Health & Wellbeing Research include access to care and patient experience, adherence and clinical outcomes, digital health and member engagement, health care costs, HIV and specialty pharmacy, and immunizations, among others.

A team of more than 25 Walgreens health services researchers, clinicians, statisticians, public health practitioners, actuaries and data scientists leads the research center. They include Harry Leider, chief medical officer and group vice president; Michael Taitel, senior director of health analytics, research and reporting; and Heather Kirkham, director of health analytics, research and reporting.

“Our goal is, through scientific research, to help improve patient care and outcomes while lowering health care costs,” Leider said in a statement. “We are dedicated to providing value to health care on a national scale, and the Walgreens Center for Health & Wellbeing Research will showcase the work we are doing every day to advance that mission.”

In the research, Walgreens is working with such academic institutions as Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Scripps Translational Science Institute, the University of California at San Francisco School of Pharmacy and the University of Chicago Medicine. The company said these institutions provide guidance, specialized expertise and industry insights that contribute to the Walgreens outcomes research efforts and actively collaborate with Walgreens researchers on a range of studies.

Recent research from the team includes the following:

• Study of Medicare Part D pharmacy patients finding that those who were late to refill prescriptions and who received reminder calls from local Walgreens pharmacists had nearly 23% greater adherence in the first 14 days of the expected refill date. Published in Patient Preference & Adherence.

• Study examining the length of therapy and factors associated with HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication adherence, which showed much higher adherence among older age groups, men, users of HIV-specialized services and those with private insurance. The study found that patients used PrEP on average for seven to eight months in the first year. Presented at the 22nd Annual International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Annual International Meeting in Boston.

• Walgreens and Inovalon gauged the efficacy of the Walgreens Connected Care Cystic Fibrosis program versus a matched sample of control patients. The study found that cystic fibrosis patients have better outcomes when enrolled in a pharmacy-based comprehensive therapy management program. Presented at the 30th Annual North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference in Orlando, Fla.

• Collaborative study with the Scripps Translational Science Institute assessed health data self-tracking characteristics of people enrolled in the Walgreens Balance Rewards for healthy choices (BRhc) program, including the impact of manual versus automatic data entries through a mobile device or apps. The study revealed that 77% of users manually recorded their activities and participated in the program for an average of five weeks. But users who entered activities automatically using the BRhc-supported devices or apps remained engaged four times longer and averaged 20 weeks of participation. Published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

“Walgreens has been a valued partner in a long-standing and productive collaboration, which has given our clinical and research faculty the opportunity to develop, implement and evaluate novel programs to reach patients where they are to improve their access to quality care,” commented Jeanne M. Clark, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins medical director for the institution’s collaboration with Walgreens. “We are looking forward to continuing our work together.”



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