Last week, Walgreens, the second-largest pharmacy store chain in the United States, signed a partnership with Village MD. The two are planning to open up to 700 physician-staffed clinics inside its drugstores in more than 30 U.S. markets. In this partnership, Village MD will get $1 billion funding while Walgreens will hold a 30% stake in Village MD.
Last year, Walgreens piloted the program in Houston, Texas where they attained good results and high customer satisfaction. The clinics will accept a wide range of health insurance options, apply telehealth technology, and offer home visit services.
If you recall back in 2006, CVS did the same thing. Then only difference is that CVS has nurses and physician assistants while Walgreens and Village MD will have medical doctors. Currently, CVS has more than 1,100 such clinics in 33 states. The most appealing thing about this partnership is that Village MD clinics offer comprehensive primary care.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 60% of Americans live with chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Through these medical facilities, it is believed that this will encourage people to take their medication. This program is also expected to counter telehealth technology, where people order medication through their smartphones, by bringing doctors closer.
Another puzzle Walgreens and CVS will have to think about is the competition from large retailers like Amazon and Walmart plus public response in this corona pandemic period. Village MD already had a 15% drop in its patient care visits. What we can’t tell is whether patients will leave the large retailers to go and visit their doctor.
Are you open to the idea of seeing your primary care physician at Walgreens? Let us know what you think in the comment section.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.