Walgreens expands digital services with Hinge Health, Abbott

Walgreens is expanding its digital health partnerships so consumers can try on glasses virtually, take an at-home COVID-19 test and access mental health services.

The pharmacy retail giant is broadening offerings on the Walgreens Find Care platform to include 15 new or expanded collaborations with providers, offering easier access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The digital health services span regional health systems and companies in diabetes healthcare technology, hearing, vision, at-home COVID-19 testing, colon cancer screening, lab testing, mental health, musculoskeletal pain, and nonsurgical back and neck rehabilitation, Walgreens said.

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The new and expanded partnerships include BetterHelp and Sanvello for mental health support, Lexie Hearing, virtual musculoskeletal company Hinge Health, Cologuard for colon cancer screenings and For Eyes for virtual eye care.

Walgreens' digital platform also offers diabetes healthcare technology with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre continuous glucose monitoring systems and at-home COVID-19 testing with Pixel by Labcorp.

The retailer launched its digital marketplace, Find Care, in 2018 to connect consumers with local and digital healthcare services. As the U.S. approaches one year since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency, use of the digital health platform has rapidly increased to nearly 20 million visits, equal to a thirteenfold rise in web traffic versus last year.

“Walgreens Find Care addresses even more needs during the pandemic by connecting patients to care and helping customers think differently about how their pharmacy can become a resource for more of their healthcare needs,” said Giovanni Monti, senior vice president of healthcare services, Walgreens Boots Alliance, in a statement.

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“In addition to adding new services, with this expansion we are connecting our millions of customers nationwide to a broader mix of health systems and service providers that now offer more than 65 services and treat more than 120 conditions.”

Expansion of these services is important as the pandemic continues and both patients and practitioners seek to reduce exposure to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided continued guidance to healthcare facilities and providers to offer clinical services through telehealth to help address medical needs while supporting social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the CDC, remote access to healthcare services may also better serve those who are medically or socially vulnerable or who do not have ready access to providers.