The “digital health corners” will be piloted in 12 pharmacies owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance, some of which will be Boots stores in the UK, the company announced on Tuesday (January 15).
Walgreens Boots Alliance and Microsoft are also considering establishing “joint innovation centres in key markets” – including in the UK – as part of an agreement designed to “improve health outcomes and lower overall costs”, it added.
By joining forces, the companies are looking to create “a seamless ecosystem…to better connect consumers, providers – including Walgreens and Boots pharmacists – pharmaceutical manufacturers and payors”, Walgreens Boots Alliance said.
The seven-year partnership will focus on using customers’ digital devices to connect them to Walgreens Boots Alliance stores and services, including “virtual care”, the company explained.
In addition, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Microsoft plan to develop apps for chronic-disease management and patient engagement, as well as devices for managing non-acute chronic conditions.
Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina said the partnership with the technology firm demonstrates the health and beauty giant's commitment to creating “integrated, next-generation, digitally enabled healthcare delivery solutions for our customers”.
The partnership will transform its pharmacies “into modern neighbourhood health destinations and [expand] customer offerings”, he added.
The companies said they will “proactively engage” with patients and their healthcare providers to improve medication adherence and reduce visits to emergency rooms.
Walgreens Boots Alliance stressed that “data privacy, security and consent [are] core to this model” and will be protected by a “trusted cloud platform” built by Microsoft.
The news comes two weeks after Boots announced it had acquired healthcare technology company Wiggly-Amps, which allows patients to order their prescriptions online by linking to their health records.