Walgreens employs mobile tech to drive better care
Mobile technology has become an must-have tool for Walgreens, which bills itself as the nation's largest drugstore chain. The company now offers mobile applications for iPhone, Android and Blackberry, featuring text alerts for more than 1 million subscribers and a function that allows patients to scan the bar code of their prescription to send in refills.
Walgreens operates 7,650 drugstores in all 50 states.
The company's chief medical officer, Cheryl Pegus, MD, highlighted Walgreens use of healthcare technology, Jan. 7 at the Digital Health Summit, part of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Pegus discussed the evolution of digital health at Walgreens and how the company is using technology to drive improved access, outcomes and cost-effective care for both acute and chronic conditions.
"Access to the right care, at the right time, is enabled for our consumers and patients by integrating mobile technology into the services we offer patients to help them stay well," said Pegus.
In addition to the mobile apps available to customers, patients are also able to access Walgreens.com on the go for pharmacy and retail purchasing as well as health risk assessments and prescription-related information.
Pegus also highlighted how Walgreens and Take Care Clinics are using technology to deliver integrated, quality care and simplify and improve the patient experience.
For example, at all of the more than 350 Take Care Clinics located at select Walgreens, patients "sign in" using electronic kiosks which help them understand their estimated wait time and avoid manually filling out paperwork.
Data inputted into the kiosk prompts the creation of an eletronic medical record that allows providers across the country to more quickly and comprehensively understand a patient's history. The Walgreens pharmacists and Take Care providers use an eCommunication program to coordinate care with a patient's pharmacy provider and can quickly generate reports to share with a patient's primary care provider to facilitate coordinated care.
Pegus also talked about Walgreens use of digital tools to help manage chronic conditions.
Through e-prescribing, prescriptions are routed directly to a patient's pharmacy, improving patient safety and convenience by allowing for a real-time cross-check for any drug interactions. A Walgreens tool, RxAdvisor, facilitates regular pharmacist consultations with patients about their medication regimen online or face-to-face.
Another Walgreens offering, MedMonitor Complete, provides prescription and care management with face-to-face and telephonic support using a nationwide network of more than 10,000 pharmacies.