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Population Health News

Walgreens Offers Online Library of Population Health Research

Walgreens is offering open access to a library of population health management research studies to share its learnings with the public.

Population health management and care coordination

Source: Thinkstock

By Jennifer Bresnick

- In a bid to further position itself as a leader in population health management that goes far beyond the pharmacy, Walgreens has announced the launch of an online library of healthcare research studies.

The Center for Health and Wellbeing Research features more than 50 outcomes studies conducted by Walgreens researchers focusing on key areas including access to care, patient engagement, care coordination, healthcare spending, and adherence rates.

“We are thrilled to be unveiling the Walgreens Center for Health & Wellbeing Research,” said Harry Leider, MD, chief medical officer and group vice president, Walgreens. “Our goal is, through scientific research, to help improve patient care and outcomes while lowering health care costs.”

“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.”

Walgreens has produced the research library over the past six years in partnership with academic institutions including Johns Hopkins, the Scripps Translational Science Institute, the UCSF School of Pharmacy, and the University of Chicago.

“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,” said Jeanne M. Clark, MD, MPH, a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins medical director for its collaboration with Walgreens.

“We are looking forward to continuing our work together.”

Walgreens has joined other popular retail pharmacy chains, including CVS Health and Rite Aid, in becoming more than a place for patients to pick up their medications alongside household items and personal care products. 

CVS Health and Walgreens operate around 75 percent of the retail clinics in the United States, says a report by RAND Corporation.  About a third of urban residents live within ten minutes of a retail clinic location.

The company’s significant investment in the retail clinic space has turned Walgreens clinics into an attractive supplement to traditional care – and an Epic Systems electronic health record has reduced barriers to information exchange and care coordination with the primary care environment.

“We see a great value in retail health.  It’s accessible and affordable care, seven days a week, and it is cost effective and consumer-centered,” Dr. Patrick Carroll, Chief Medical Officer at Walgreens, told HealthITAnalytics.com earlier in 2017.  “We have been investing quite a lot in it, because we think it will add value to the entire healthcare system.” 

“There’s a real need for expanded care access – not to mention that there are some significant advantages to having a pharmacist three to five yards away from where patients are receiving treatment.  It’s a serious perk for consumers if they don’t have to make a separate trip to pick up their prescriptions.”

The new initiative to invite public access to population health management research aims to further the health system’s knowledge of how retail clinics, pharmacies, and other stakeholders can contribute to lowering costs and improving care.

One of the studies included in the library details how follow-up phone calls from pharmacists improved medication adherence among Medicare beneficiaries by close to 23 percent.

Another report found that cystic fibrosis patients experience better outcomes when enrolled in a pharmacy-based comprehensive therapy management program, while a third project suggests that patients who can automatically upload self-tracking data through apps and connected devices are more likely to stay engaged in incentive programs for better health.

For more information and access to the research center, please click here.

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