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09/20/2021

Q&A: WBA’s Monti outlines the company’s approach to health and wellness

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s senior vice president of health care services talked to Drug Store News about how the company is making health care more accessible via its partnerships and offerings.
David Salazar
Managing Editor
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Walgreens has been busy building out its health care offerings, including its Walgreens Find Care platform and its partnership with VillageMD, aimed at opening 600 primary care locations at its stores in the next several years. Drug Store News spoke with Giovanni Monti, Walgreens Boots Alliance’s senior vice president of health care services, about the company’s efforts.  

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera
Giovanni Monti, senior vice president of healthcare services, Walgreens Boots Alliance

Drug Store News: Can you give an overview of some of Walgreens Boots Alliance’s healthcare efforts in the United States?    
Giovanni Monti:
WBA serves millions of people a day both in person and online. Thanks to our trained healthcare professionals, digital innovations and more, we have extended our offer from pharmacy to broader healthcare services, and from the store to where, when and how people want it. COVID-19 tests and vaccinations are two of the latest examples of how we are serving communities in new ways.   

Our services are now available not only in store, but we also help patients connect with third-party providers via Walgreens Find Care, available on Walgreens.com and the Walgreens app. The award-winning Walgreens Find Care platform lets people access care when, and how, they need it from trusted local and national providers. Booking appointments with healthcare providers; ordering at-home diagnostic testing or scheduling an in-person diagnostic test at a Walgreens pharmacy or other patient service center; finding clinical trials; and accessing telehealth are just a few of the services available on Walgreens Find Care — all integrated with our digital pharmacy experience.

[Read more: Walgreens Find Care adds Kiio digital musculoskeletal therapy]

We have teamed up with VillageMD to offer conveniently located and coordinated primary care through Village Medical at Walgreens clinics alongside Walgreens pharmacies. As of the end of our third quarter, we have opened Village Medical at Walgreens clinics in Texas, Arizona, Northern Indiana and Florida. In fact, Walgreens is the first national pharmacy chain to plan to offer full-service primary care clinics co-located at its stores at a large scale. Through this collaboration, we’re able to integrate primary care and pharmacy services in one place, making it easier to obtain comprehensive health care.

DSN: You’ve now opened dozens of Village Medical at Walgreens locations as part of an investment in and partnership with VillageMD. What makes this unique as a primary care offering at retail?
G
M: Yes, as of the end of our third quarter, we opened 46 previously announced Village Medical at Walgreens locations, with a plan to open the next 35 locations by the end of this calendar year, for a total of approximately 80 co-locations. Village Medical at Walgreens is unique because it brings physician and pharmacy services together under one roof, enabling patients to benefit from improved health outcomes and lowered cost of care.

“Thanks to our trained healthcare professionals, digital innovations and more, we have extended our offer from pharmacy to broader healthcare services, and from the store to where, when and how people want it.”

Through VillageMD, we also help remove barriers to access quality healthcare services. VillageMD primary care physicians and Walgreens pharmacists work together to provide care for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure, as well as everyday illnesses and injuries. Patients can benefit from a seamless experience that saves them time and money, and helps them take medication as prescribed by their primary care providers.

[Read more: Walgreens, Northwell Health ink strategic agreement]

DSN: The VillageMD partnership was accelerated earlier this year. Why was this such a critical priority for WBA and how does it strengthen the company’s position as a healthcare destination?
GM:
We are on track to meet our overall goal of opening 600 Village Medical at Walgreens in more than 30 U.S. markets over the next four years. Creating neighborhood health destinations around a more modern pharmacy is one of WBA’s strategic priorities. An important part of that is our pharmacists’ work with VillageMD physicians to deliver the highest quality, coordinated and affordable care to help improve health outcomes in the communities we serve.

Additionally, the pandemic highlighted numerous barriers to accessing care, including the difficulties patients face when navigating a complex healthcare environment, and has indirectly contributed to a worsening of backlogs of appointments and management of urgent and chronic health needs. What we’re offering through the Village Medical at Walgreens coordinated care model is now more important than ever, especially for patients with chronic conditions.

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