Walgreens innovates service

February 15, 2009

Walgreens’ launch of its employer-centric pharmacy, health and wellness program, exemplifies a move by providers of service innovating their delivery models.

Walgreens’ launch of its new pharmacy, health and wellness program, which includes on-site clinics, exemplifies delivery model innovation, say experts.

“Consumerism in healthcare is now in its second generation,” says Abir Sen, president of RedBrick Health, a health services company in Minneapolis. “The first generation saw innovations mostly on the demand side, dealing with plan design-for example, HSAs, getting individuals the information they need to act as consumers, such as price and quality transparency. In this second generation, we are seeing the supply side-the providers of services-begin to innovate on their delivery models of serving the consumer. Walgreens’ latest move is just another example of this trend.”The program is offered through Take Care Health Systems, a Walgreens subsidiary that provides worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics.“Walgreens’ offering will certainly be attractive to a segment of individuals and employers, and managed care companies must be able to change their business models to accommodate this change,” Sen says. “Over the past few years, what it means to ‘manage care’ has quietly undergone a seismic shift. It is no longer just about managing utilization and lowering cost, but increasingly about how to best help the individual navigate the increasing choices that they face and must manage.”

He believes insurers that are not able to make the transition from legacy thinking are going to find it hard to compete in the long run.