Walgreens Expects Healthy Results From Wellness Push

Discussion
Jan 15, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

All is well at Walgreens with a new pilot program intended
to make it a leading source of healthcare services in the communities it
serves.

The Walgreens Optimal Wellness program, according to a company press
release, is an “innovative self-care educational program for people
with chronic conditions.” The chain has chosen Albuquerque, Indianapolis,
Oklahoma City and Phoenix as its initial test markets.

The program, which will
combine the expertise of the chain’s pharmacists along with nurse practitioners
at its Take Care clinics, will initially provide “individual
health coaching” and counseling for people with type 2 diabetes.

The drugstore
chain has not indicated when it will take the program national or what other
chronic healthcare issues it will tackle in its stores.

Discussion
Questions: Are retailers finding the right fit between pharmacies and in-store
clinics to achieve significant growth in healthcare services? What are your
thoughts on the initial focus on patients with type 2 diabetes in Walgreens’
Optimal Wellness program and where do you think it will (should) go from there?

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13 Comments on "Walgreens Expects Healthy Results From Wellness Push"


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Ben Ball
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

The family pharmacist was a trusted source of minor medical advice not all that long ago. The combination of in-store clinics staffed with Nurse Practitioners and pharmacists could quickly regain that status under the government’s new vision of healthcare. It appears that several provisions of the current proposals would provide strong incentives to consumers to make use of such lower cost options–particularly for chronic illnesses.

The more difficult question for Chain Drug may be “how does this more clinical offering fit with end-aisle displays of Doritos and Pepsi?” Chain Drug has been pushing the convenience shopping or “c-store for women” concept pretty hard the last few years. It will be interesting to see whether consumers think that is compatible with “trusted source of diabetes care.”

Roger Saunders
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Consumers clearly see their pharmacist as part of their health care world. Beyond core prescriptions, the flood of consumers seeking flu shots, blood pressure checks, and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses has accelerated rapidly in the past 5 years.

Consumers deal with this aspect of their lives in similar ways as they make use of other retailers–convenience, value, trust, loyalty, innovation, etc. WALGREENS is delivering on these issues in their clinics and stores. The consumer is going to make greater use of the platform in the coming years.

Dick Seesel
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

The more successfully a store like Walgreens can position itself as “wellness headquarters,” the greater the opportunity to recapture pharmacy market share from discounters. After all, chronic disease management (such as diabetes) allows Walgreens to cultivate customer loyalty in a very lucrative way. There is a lot of money to be spent on diabetes supplies and medications, for the consumer who is also visiting the Take Care Clinic (or wellness center) for advice on diet and exercise and for routine blood screening.

Walgreens has a unique challenge rising to this opportunity: There is too much clutter and over-assortment throughout the store, and the front-of-store experience is not exactly consistent with the “wellness” concept unless you like candy and cigarettes! Let’s hope that Walgreens moves forward with its initiative on SKU reduction in order to make “wellness” a credible brand position.

Mark Johnson
Guest
Mark Johnson
11 years 3 months ago

Health and wellness is an area we are seeing a ton of interest in at Loyalty 360. We have new members from Pharma, Drug, Retail, Insurance providers, etc, that are all interested in this.

It will be interesting to see how these disparate entities work and market together.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 3 months ago

Doesn’t make sense to keep your customers healthy and living? Here in Ontario, there is a strong push to ease the burden on doctors by allowing pharmacists to educate consumers on how to control or treat their illnesses. This is especially true in the diabetes world where patients may require information or products quickly.

Doctor’s offices aren’t open until midnight but I can’t swing a beaver without hitting a pharmacy that is open late or 24 hours. By teaming up with in-store clinics, Walgreens will be providing essential resources to its customers (or patients if you must). People don’t mind paying the extra dispensing fees at Shoppers Drug Mart because of the extra services they provide like auto-reminders for refills and extensive patient counseling. You just don’t get that type of service at discount pharmacies or supermarkets. Walgreens will be enjoying the benefits of healthy customers (fine! patients) in the long term. And there is nothing wrong with having a reputation of being a trusted resource especially when it comes to healthy living.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I see Walgreen’s health and wellness initiatives as being complimentary to and synergistic with its CCR (Customer Centric Retailing) program. CCR’s goals of clearing the clutter, improving adjacencies and eliminating redundancies appear to already be paying off for Walgreens and their recent assignment of a dedicated champion for the effort demonstrates their intention to keep it on the front burner. Without CCR, Walgreens would only be adding to the confusion; with it, they have the potential to become formidable in health and wellness and to march on as the small footprint alternative to the big boxes.

david scott
Guest
david scott
11 years 3 months ago

See the relevant article in today’s Globe & Mail in Toronto:

Drugstores poised to become true health-care hubs

Ontario is revamping the role of pharmacists, with drugstores becoming places where vaccines can be given and some medication prescribed.

Mark Plona
Guest
Mark Plona
11 years 3 months ago

The constant media exposure to the fact that two thirds of Americans are in some form “un-healthy” and at risk for some form of chronic illness, will likely send consumers searching for something new.

They certainly have the opportunity and means to capture consumers with preventative programs as well. While the chronic illness market continues to grow, concentration on other groups who can avoid chronic illnesses can pose an even bigger opportunity if built together.

Properly placed products and programs that show Walgreens has a commitment to both groups will go a long way toward building consumer confidence in their brand.

Sandy Miller
Guest
Sandy Miller
11 years 3 months ago

Of course this is an excellent way for Walgreens to better serve its shoppers. To insure success, Walgreens must use their store as a store-wide media platform to let shoppers know about the program and how it benefits them. This can be their key platform or media to make clear all the products they offer to support Health and Wellness.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
11 years 3 months ago

I’ll reprise an argument I’ve made in these spaces more than once before: Retailers with clinics should make it mandatory for their employees to use the clinics as part of their health benefits. Privacy could be maintained, it would provide valuable preventive care, and it would cut health benefit costs. Kaiser Permanente began as an in-house healthcare program at Kaiser Aluminum. It can be done.

Kai Clarke
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Walgreen’s is driving more profits to the bottom line through their flu shot offerings. This is just a natural extension of this program and it already has demonstrated how joining a service with the pharmacy can have a tremendous impact on the bottom line. Plus, the longer customers “stay” in a Walgreen’s store, the more products they will purchase.

Dave Haynes
Guest
Dave Haynes
11 years 3 months ago

A couple of years ago Walgreens acquired Take Care Health Services because it watched the clear benefit of having on-site health services. Take Care was installing micro-clinics in Walgreen’s stores, staffed by nurse practitioners. They watched as moms brought in kids with minor ailments, got a prescription written, and then headed straight for the pharmacy counter in the same store. Sales figures really shot up when Take Care did flu shot clinics.

John Crossman
Guest
John Crossman
11 years 3 months ago

I am not a doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV, but I can tell you that any retailer that can make a positive input in the area of wellness is heading in the right direction in my book.

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