Walgreens Expands Access To Telehealth Visits To 25 States Through MDLive Partnership


Walgreens unveils an updated version of its mobile app that adds support for telehealth visits in 25 states, a significant increase over the five states it brought live with telehealth this summer. The news was expected, as Walgreens had previously announced that its strategic goal was to roll telehealth services out to at least 25 states by the end of 2015. In December 2014, telehealth vendor MDLive was contracted to support the initiative, and since then Walgreens has been slowly adding new states to its telehealth footprint. At launch, the Walgreens app offered telehealth visits to users in California and Michigan, then in June the services were extended to users living in Colorado, Illinois, and Washington. Now, telehealth visits will be available in Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Walgreens did not discuss its timeline for expanding these services to the remainder of the country.

The way Walgreens delivers telehealth sessions is also changing. Prior to its latest app update, users were required to have both the Walgreens app and the MDLive app on their devices to use the telehealth services. Now, the entire virtual visit experience is facilitated through the Walgreens app alone, doing away with the need to use MDLive.

Behind the scenes, Walgreens also uses its MDLive partnership to support its own in-store clinicians. The company has 370 healthcare clinics spread out across the country. Clinics are staffed by Physician Assistants or Nurse Practitioners who can turn to MDLive for impromptu consultations with a specialist, when needed.

In addition to its telehealth ramp up, Walgreens is also rolling out a new program to encourage blood pressure and glucose monitoring. The program offers 20 Walgreens Balance Rewards points per day to users that upload either blood pressure or blood glucose readings. To participate, users have to buy a Walgreens brand wireless blood pressure monitor or blood glucose monitor, an inconvenient requirement of the program considering that data flows from the device through Qualcomm’s 2net device integration engine, and then to the Walgreens app.

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