WAG showcases new technologies at TEDMED conference

Attendees can take iPad tours of new store formats, try out new apps

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens is showcasing some of its newest healthcare innovations at the TEDMED conference in San Diego, the retail pharmacy chain said Wednesday.

Attendees of the TEDMED conference, which began Tuesday and lasts until Friday, will be able to take iPad video tours of Walgreens' new store format, which it has launched as a pilot program at about 20 of its stores in the Chicago area, as well as in Indianapolis.

Features of the new stores include a pharmacist desk area in front of the pharmacy counter to provide greater customer access to the pharmacist; private and semi-private consultation rooms; Health Guides who can answer product and service questions; an open and redesigned layout with expanded fresh food and beauty products, with more accessible shelving and checkout lines; and such technology as Walgreens Web Pickup, which allows customers to order online and pick up at the store and touchscreen kiosks that allow patients to quickly refill prescriptions.

"Walgreens has a long-standing history of innovating to meet the evolving needs of our customers, which is why we've taken an approach to move beyond the traditional drug store format and deliver a differentiated shopping and pharmacy experience based on what consumers have told us," Walgreens chief innovation officer Colin Watts said. "These new stores improve the design, convenience and quality of our pharmacy services, more effectively utilize space and fully leverage the expertise of our highly trained pharmacy staff to help deliver an experience that reflects our capabilities and commitment to cost-effective health care."

The company also will demonstrate mobile applications for Apple, Android and Blackberry devices, which include "Refill by Scan," an app that allows patients to scan the barcode of a prescription and order refills in seconds, as well as refill reminder text alerts. On Thursday, Walgreens will host a live Facebook chat on the evolving role of the pharmacist that will engage TEDMED attendees and Facebook users in an interactive discussions with a Walgreens pharmacist who will discuss how pharmacists' roles are changing.

"People value choice, control and convenience, and the online and mobile channels are great ways to deliver healthcare tools and information to our customers," Walgreens president for e-commerce Sona Chawla said. "These applications have been widely adopted in helping people manage their health 24/7, wherever they are."

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