WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — There is one key takeaway from Fast Company's naming of Walgreens as one of the industry's most innovative companies — Walgreens wasn't classified under the industry banner of "retailer," but under the industry banner of "health care." And if that isn't proof enough that Walgreens' latest retooling of its pharmacy is making patients rethink what health care is all about, then consider this: Walgreens is the only company in Fast Company's Healthcare Top 10 that physically interacts with patients — in America that is. There is one hospital system based in India on the list.
(THE NEWS: Walgreens named one of healthcare industry's most innovative companies by Fast Company. For the full story, click here.)
And it gets better. What that pushed Walgreens into that top 10 was the fact that with the latest "Well Experience" remodels, the retailer has pulled its most-coveted employees out from behind the pharmacy curtain and placed them center stage in front of the customer — "freeing them from some administrative tasks and making them more available as frontline healthcare consultants," the Fast Company write-up read.
Medication therapy management. Health screenings. A focus on "well" across the front-end with a greater allotment toward fresh food and the "iPad-equipped health guide to serve as a roaming health help desk for customers" were the distinctions that earned Walgreens top 10 recognition.
There is even a greater takeaway from this — and it's bigger than the well-deserved accolades flowing in the direction of Walgreens. Through the buzz created around Walgreens' latest pharmacy model, retail pharmacy is garnering some pretty mainstream attention for core competencies like MTM and health screenings that can be accessible, and in many cases already are accessible, across many pharmacy operations. And that's not just good news for the pureplay pharmacy retailer focused on expanding its healthcare touch points with its patients in every conceivable manner; that's good news for the healthcare industry at large.