Albertsons launches app uniting pharmacy, nutrition and telehealth

Albertsons moved to enter the digital health space with its platform Sincerely Health, designed to direct consumers on their health and wellness journeys.

Sincerely Health was designed with input from providers, payers and tech experts along with insights from 10,000 customers and employees. Users can connect data from wearables, integrate prescriptions, design their diet and make telehealth or vaccination appointments. The platform announcement comes as Albertsons has garnered headlines over a consumer suit to block the proposed megamerger with Kroger.

“We are introducing Sincerely Health with a singular intention to improve lives,” Omer Gajial, chief digital officer and executive vice president for health at Albertsons, said in a press release. “As a grocery and pharmacy retailer committed to the health and wellness of our communities, we are empowering customers to have a connected and personalized view of their health across food, nutrition, activity, mental well-being and pharmacy services, enabling them to make more informed choices.”

Users first start by filling out a questionnaire based on what the platform refers to as “seven-dimensions of wellbeing”: activity, mental well-being, mindfulness, nutrition, physical health, self-control and sleep. Responses are assessed along with the user's age, gender, lifestyle choices and mental health.  

Users can then set goals such as engaging in meditation five times a week, sleeping at least seven hours a night and taking 10,000 steps daily.

The platform connects users with the Albertsons pharmacy by managing prescriptions, scheduling vaccine appointments and making telehealth appointments through the grocer’s partnership with Providence Express Care. Users can opt in to receive reminders to take daily medications or refill prescriptions. 

Customers can download the app through the Albertsons brand websites: Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Shaw’s, Jewel-Osco, Acme and Tom Thumb, among others. If users join through their grocer’s website, they will receive a $25 coupon.  

Albertsons told Fierce Healthcare that customers' health score, health score questionnaire responses or goal tracking are never sold to third parties.

"Additionally, all personal data collected within the pharmacy experience, pertaining to prescriptions or pharmacy services, is considered protected health information and subject to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act rules and safeguards," an Albertsons spokesperson wrote to Fierce Healthcare in an email. 

"Pixel" tracking technology, which has been the subject of several lawsuits regarding patient privacy of health system websites, is used to track users' interests and provide relevant content. Users can opt out of the use of "pixels," according to Albertsons. 

The grocery recently announced a competition it’s calling the Albertsons Innovation Launchpad for growing businesses that may offer more low-sugar, all-natural and healthy prepared meals to its shelves.

“We’re always looking to provide our customers fresh, innovative products and new meal ideas,” said Jen Saenz, EVP and chief merchandising officer at Albertsons, in a press release. “Through this process, we are hoping to discover unique items that can be considered for distribution in any one of our banner stores.”

Walmart recently teamed up with Avanlee Care, which offers caregivers a similar platform integrated with Walmart shopping lists and pharmacy tools. Similar tech investments by retail giants have been seen across the industry as Walmart, CVS and Walgreens seek shopping supremacy.

Albertsons' platform announcement comes as the chain navigates a potential merger with supermarket operator Kroger. The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing Kroger's proposed $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons as consumers sue to block the “mega-merger.”

The duo joining forces would give them 36% control over the country’s grocery supermarket market, according to the suit. Opponents are concerned that such market concentration would lead to unrivaled dominance that could increase the cost of groceries.   

The two today revealed that they are advancing plans to put up between 250 and 300 stores for sale in order to ease antitrust fears, according to Reuters.

Albertsons ended the third quarter of 2022 on a high note with an identical sales increase of 7.9%, a digital sales increase of 33% and a loyalty member increase of 16%.

"Our team continues to deliver strong performance as we execute against our Customers for Life strategy and bring people together around the joys of food and inspire well-being," Vivek Sankaran, CEO of Albertsons, said in a press release. "Our investments in digital transformation, differentiation in Own Brands and Fresh offerings, and the modernization of our operational capabilities contributed to these results.”