Primary care physicians in the Houston area will have a new competitor soon. Walgreens, the national drugstore chain, is launching a primary care service for adults starting with the Houston market and possibly expanding into other cities at a later date.
Walgreens is partnering with VillageMD, a provider of tools and support to primary care physicians, to open clinics adjacent to five Walgreens stores in the Houston area, with the first locations scheduled to open by the end of 2019. Unlike many clinics in drugstore chains, this venture will focus primarily on the use of physician providers. Operating under the “Village Medical at Walgreens” moniker, the 2,500-square-foot clinics will provide primary care services from VillageMD doctors who are integrated with pharmacists, nurses, and social workers to meet patient needs.
VillageMD will use its docOS system, which integrates data and technology to get a 360-degree view of patients’ health needs, according to a press release from Walgreens. The software helps identify missing diagnoses and gaps in health, allowing doctors and patients to better manage chronic conditions that impede health and increase costs. The technology includes check-ins via phone, kiosk, home-based monitoring, and telemedicine.
“This collaboration with VillageMD demonstrates our ongoing commitment to create neighborhood health destinations that bring affordable healthcare services to customers and provide differentiated patient experience to the communities we serve,” said Pat Carroll, MD, Walgreens chief medical officer and group vice president, in a release. “VillageMD has a strong track record nationally of improving outcomes and reducing the cost of healthcare through their transformative primary care model. With more than 120 primary care physicians in their medical group in Houston, we look forward to working with them as we focus on the health and well-being of the community.”
Walgreens operates 9,560 drugstores in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Approximately 400 of its stores offer some form of a healthcare clinic for patients. VillageMD has more than 2,500 physicians across eight markets and is responsible for $2.8 billion in healthcare spending.