For the third time in four years, Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) has been selected by Fast Company Magazine as one of the health care industry’s most innovative companies, as part of the magazine’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies” issue. Walgreens was recognized for leadership and innovation in health care services, including the company’s ongoing transformation of community pharmacy highlighted by its Well Experience store format; its combination of health and technology through development of award-winning mobile applications and web tools to help people manage their health; and its public-private initiatives with organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services to improve access to health care services, while creating a new standard for the patient-pharmacist relationship. “Against the backdrop of an increasingly challenging and changing health care environment, innovation is critical to the development of programs, services and other tools that can help people get, stay and live well,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “We’re proud to again be recognized by Fast Company as one of the most innovative companies in health care, and thankful to have a great team that’s focused on finding new and different ways to improve our customers’ health and the communities we serve.” Walgreens has a rich history of innovation spanning more than 110 years. In 2012, Walgreens introduced or expanded a number of significant programs and initiatives that contributed to its inclusion by Fast Company, such as: Transforming the Community Pharmacy Experience Walgreens continues to pioneer new ways to provide greater patient access to expanded health care services. Through its Well Experience store model, pharmacists are taken out from behind the counter to provide more patient counseling, offer clinical services and answer questions. By making community pharmacists more accessible, as well as through its more than 370 Take Care Clinics located at select Walgreens across the country, the company aims to create better health outcomes and generate cost savings for patients, payers and the health care system.
Leveraging Technology to Benefit PatientsIn 2012, Walgreens introduced a number of technological innovations aimed at enhancing convenience for consumers and strengthening the connection between pharmacists and their patients. This year, the company launched its Pill Reminder mobile app and expanded its mobile prescription refill and transfer capabilities. Walgreens also launched a new online “Find Your Pharmacist” tool that allows customers to select a pharmacist by matching their health care needs with the areas of expertise, specialties, languages and clinical backgrounds of Walgreens pharmacists. Utilizing Public-Private Initiatives to Provide Greater Access to Care Working with leading health care organizations, Walgreens was a part of innovative programs to help connect people with care and to take advantage of the services community pharmacists and nurse practitioners provide. In 2012, Walgreens worked with the CDC to develop a pilot program to connect more people to HIV testing and counseling from specially trained Walgreens providers. In addition, the company launched a medication therapy management (MTM) model with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide greater insight into how the patient-pharmacist relationship can improve outcomes for HIV patients. Through these public-private collaborations, and awareness efforts with local and national AIDS service organizations, the drugstore chain is working to make a meaningful impact on prevention, treatment and the end of AIDS. About Walgreens As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens ( www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,067 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.