DEERFIELD, Ill. January 13, 2010 – Walgreens (NYSE: WAG)(NASDAQ: WAG) today announced the launch of the Walgreens Optimal WellnessTM program, an innovative self-care educational program for people with chronic conditions that will initially focus on people with type 2 diabetes. Walgreens Optimal WellnessTM is a significant step for Walgreens and the health care industry that capitalizes on the power of face-to-face interaction.
Walgreens officially began enrolling patients Jan. 1 and is initially launching this program at select drugstores in four markets across the United States: Indianapolis; Phoenix; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Oklahoma City.
“Walgreens Optimal WellnessTM utilizes our wide range of health care providers and resources to control debilitating and costly chronic care conditions,” said Greg Wasson, Walgreens President and CEO. “Diabetes is one of the most difficult chronic care diseases to manage and the most costly. Through accessible community pharmacies, our program brings patients the tools they need to live healthier and more productive lives.”
The program is another way Walgreens is transforming community pharmacy by expanding the pharmacist’s role as a trusted provider of health care services.
Optimal WellnessTM uses a patient-centric approach that works in concert with the patient’s primary care physician to help them more easily understand their disease. The core of the approach features a program of individual health coaching and diabetes counseling personalized to meet patients’ needs. It is based on the North Carolina Center for Pharmaceutical Care’s highly successful Asheville, N.C. diabetes care project, as well as previous Walgreens diabetes pilot education programs developed by Walgreens and Joslin Diabetes Center, a global leader in diabetes research, education and care, affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
“Educating type 2 diabetes patients on best practices and individualizing care are critical elements to combating this chronic disease, which continues to affect Americans at an increasingly rapid pace,” said Dr. Richard Jackson, Medical Director, Healthcare Services, Joslin Diabetes Center. “As we have seen in real world examples, when communication between patients and health care providers improves, patient outcomes are more likely to be successful.”
Walgreens Optimal WellnessTM program leverages Walgreens thousands of health care providers, including community pharmacists and Take Care nurse practitioners. These personal health coaches will help identify patient challenges to managing their condition and counsel them on overcoming those obstacles, as well as reinforce and support all aspects of physicians’ prescribed treatment plans. Following each interaction with a health coach, the patient’s primary care physician will be notified with details of the meeting so that they will be kept abreast of the information that the patient will receive.
Each of the coaches has been trained through a program developed with the help of Joslin Diabetes Center. The program has been certified by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.
Walgreens is in the final stages of discussions with a number of leading managed care organizations and employers to enroll patients in the program.
“Treating diabetes remains a daunting challenge,” said Dr. Lucy Crane, Walgreens corporate medical director. “While great strides are being made through research and education that have reduced the effects of diabetes complications, nearly 900 people die from complications from this disease every day. Providing patients with their own personal health coach will enable them to develop a step-by-step diabetes plan that is ongoing, convenient and customized to daily life. Directly engaging with patients leads to far better adherence and ultimately better outcomes when treating chronic diseases.”