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Walgreens proceeds with telehealth expansion

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New Walgreens Connect app links Balance Rewards to health devices

Walgreens MDLIVE telehealth_featured

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens has begun offering telehealth services in another 20 states under its partnership with connected health provider MDLive.

The drug chain said Tuesday that via an expansion of the Walgreens mobile app, MDLive’s telehealth services have become available to users in Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The platform was launched last December through the Walgreens mobile app in California and Michigan. This past June, access was expanded to Colorado, Illinois and Washington. Walgreens had said it planned to enable access to the service in 25 states by the end of this year.

Through 24/7 service, available in iOS and Android versions of the Walgreens app, users can consult virtually with MDLive’s network of U.S. board-certified doctors for a range of acute conditions. The physicians also can e-prescribe medications.

Walgreens Connect app screenshot

The Walgreens Connect app pairs Well at Walgreens blood glucose meters or blood pressure wrist monitors with a smartphone to enables users to earn rewards.

On Monday, Walgreens said it also has updated the telehealth experience within the app to provide improved functionality and integration. For example, it’s no longer necessary to install and launch the MDLive app separately to continue the session.

“Walgreens provides convenient and connected services for our customers, and we are thrilled to be advancing our digital experience to provide patients with more choices when it comes to accessing care,” Adam Pellegrini, divisional vice president of digital health at Walgreens, said in a statement. “We have seen that telehealth solutions play an important role in helping to improve patient outcomes, and we will continue to work to evolve our offerings to ensure our patients can choose what’s most convenient for them, whether that’s live doctor consultations, digitally chatting with a pharmacist or visiting a Healthcare Clinic.”

Doctors in MDLive’s network are often based in the same communities as Walgreens customers, positioning the drug chain’s mobile app to be one of the most robust digital health apps available to consumers, according to MDLive chief executive officer Randy Parker.

“As we expand virtual care service, we are seeing strong demand based on consumers’ appetite for digital convenience and ease-of-access to a quality, board-certified physician,” Parker stated. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with an innovator like Walgreens who understands these fundamental consumer expectations and knows how to execute to meet and exceed them.”

Also on Monday, Walgreens announced the launch of the Walgreens Connect app, which allows members of its Balance Rewards loyalty program who have a Well at Walgreens connected premium-brand blood glucose meter or blood pressure wrist monitor to earn points for daily measurements. It works as follows: The app guides users to pick the device to pair, connect to the device and then synchronize data, enabling them to earn Balance Rewards points.

Walgreens said the data is captured and transmitted to the cloud via the 2net Platform and 2net Mobile solutions from Qualcomm Life, a Qualcomm Inc. subsidiary. Walgreens rewards 20 points per day for taking a blood pressure measurement and 20 points per day for blood glucose measurements. The Walgreens Connect app is available for download at the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Balance Rewards now has more than 500,000 active connected devices, many connected via Qualcomm Life’s 2net solution, according to Walgreens. The company noted that the open ecosystem model provides many ways for members to connect their preferred device or app, and over 90% of the program’s active members are using a connected device instead of manual entry.

Walgreens added that Pellegrini will be discussing the updated connected health offerings and the drug chain’s overall telehealth strategy at this week’s mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C., during his presentation “Walgreens Connected You: Reimagining Connected Health” on Nov. 10. He will also participate in the Venture+ Forum Finals the same day and the Life Science Roundtable on Nov. 11.


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