MDLIVE expands Walgreens collaboration to include behavioral health services
DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreens on Tuesday expanded its collaboration with telehealth provider MDLIVE as part of a new mental health platform and campaign to help meet the growing need for resources and access to care.
“Walgreens is dedicated to championing everyone’s right to be happy and healthy, and our commitment extends to supporting our customers and patients to both good physical and mental health,” stated Alex Gourlay, Walgreens president. “We’re proud to help meet the need for mental health resources in our communities, to encourage those who have questions or concerns to seek answers, and to work closely with other providers and partners to help more people get the support and services they need.”
The Walgreens mental health platform aims to improve health outcomes through early screening and intervention, to heighten consumer awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental illness, and to connect more people with clinical resources in their community who can help.
As part of the campaign, Walgreens also has formed a collaboration with Mental Health America, a leading community based nonprofit organization. Working with MHA, and with a new section of the Walgreens website dedicated to mental health, (Walgreens.com/mentalhealth
), Walgreens can help connect people to free, scientifically based online screenings for a number of conditions, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and PTSD.
With timely intervention often critical to early stage treatment, Walgreens and MHA together have set a goal to complete 3 million online screenings by the end of 2017.
MHA can facilitate follow-up treatment and care through providers and specialists in local communities, as well as through its affiliates across the U.S.
The initiative launches in conjunction with Mental Health Month, observed each May in the United States.
Walgreens currently provides a broad range of services to improve medication adherence for patients, including those with certain mental health conditions, and today introduces a new Mental Health Answers site available at Walgreens.com/mentalhealth
. The site features informational resources and content, as well as easy access to a selection of free online screening tools through MHA.
As part of the commitment, and to better serve those with mental health conditions, Walgreens is providing opportunities for continuing education for all of its more than 27,000 pharmacists. And beginning later this month, a training program focused on depression and anxiety will be offered for the more than 1,100 Walgreens Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The pharmacist educational program is provided through its relationship with Medscape.
Walgreens pharmacists are playing an important role in working with patients through other services, including:
New to therapy consultations – pharmacist phone calls to Walgreens patients who are new to targeted medication therapies, including depression;
Pharmacy chat – 24/7 online access to Walgreens pharmacy staff for secure, 1-on-1 chat to address medication-related questions or concerns. Staff specially trained in a number of areas, including stress and depression; and
Depression screenings for select disease states, provided through Walgreens specialty pharmacy locations and the Walgreens Connected Care offering.
And a new behavioral telehealth solution provided by Breakthrough, an MDLIVE company, also will be available through the Walgreens digital properties. Breakthrough offers access to more than 1,000 state-licensed therapists and psychiatrists to treat addiction, depression, stress and other behavioral health concerns.
“Teletherapy is an excellent option if you’re looking for a more convenient, private and affordable way to receive behavioral therapy,” stated Randy Parker, CEO MDLIVE. “Through our relationship with Walgreens, we are making it easier for consumers to get help by providing the flexibility to schedule therapy at a time that works best for them, and without the need for travel time, waiting rooms or office visits.”
“Access to providers and care is one of the biggest challenges for our mental health system today, and we’re pleased to work with MDLIVE to help meet this need as part of the Walgreens mental health platform,” added Adam Pellegrini, Walgreens divisional VP digital health.
Teletherapy, the delivery of web- and mobile-based sessions between a patient and licensed mental health provider via video, is one of the fastest growing sectors of the virtual healthcare market. A 2013 study conducted by clinical researchers from the University of Zurich, determined that patients who received psychotherapy for depression via the Internet had outcomes that were just as good, if not better, than the same number of patients receiving conventional face-to-face therapy (53% vs 50%). In addition, 95% of those patients who received telehealth services were satisfied with their experience, versus 91% of patients who received conventional treatment. Both groups of patients in the study described their visits with their therapists as “personal.”