Nation & World

Walgreens unveils new digital platform

Service to connect patients to doctors

Chicago Tribune/TNS

Walgreens’ Find Care Now platform, available online and on the pharmacy chain’s app, allows patients to schedule appointments at its in-store Advocate clinics.
Chicago Tribune/TNS Walgreens’ Find Care Now platform, available online and on the pharmacy chain’s app, allows patients to schedule appointments at its in-store Advocate clinics.

Walgreens has debuted a new digital platform to connect customers to medical services, after its stock dove on news that Amazon is expanding into the pharmacy business.

Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens’ new Find Care Now platform, available online and on the pharmacy chain’s app, allows patients to schedule appointments at its in-store Advocate clinics, talk with doctors and therapists through telehealth company MDLIVE, and schedule online dermatology appointments through online dermatology service DermatologistOnCall.

Patients also can get second opinions through the NewYork-Presbyterian health care system and make eye and hearing appointments at Walgreens stores.

In other parts of the country, Walgreens has partnered with a number of other regional health care providers.

The platform lists prices for the services, before insurance, and it lists the nearest locations and wait times.

“It only makes sense for us to make it even easier for consumers to access different health care services that we or our partners provide, and to do that based on where they are, based on their health conditions,” said Giovanni Monti, Walgreens Boots Alliance vice president and director of health care innovation.

When asked whether the offering is related to Amazon’s push into the pharmacy business, Monti said, “We’re very, very focused on our product development and strategy and we’re, of course, very aware of what’s happening in the market, but we do what we believe is right for our customers and augments or accelerates our strategy.”

The platform has been in development for “some time,” spokesman Jim Cohn said.

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Walgreens lost about $6 billion in value in one day, last month, when Amazon announced it was acquiring PillPack, an online pharmacy headquartered in Massachusetts. The drop came despite fiscal third-quarter earnings for Walgreens that beat expectations.

Shares of CVS Health and Rite Aid also fell as well that day.

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